St. Mark’s Lutheran Church
A Brief History:
|1894||June 24. Cornerstone laid for present church building, St. Markus Kirche. A German-American architect, Henry Geilfuss, designed the grand unique red brick church with Romanesque Revival style exterior and Gothic Revival interior.|
|1895||March 10. Present building, costing $56,000, was dedicated. The chandelier from Germany and the Schoenstein organ, both donated by sugar tycoon Claus Spreckels, were transferred from the Geary Street Church to the new church. Ninety four years later, the chandelier was destroyed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.|
|1906||April 18. The devastating San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fires destroyed much of the city. Though the church was damaged (the east tower was weakened and the cross melted from heat of the fires), it escaped destruction and served as a refuge for victims made homeless. The church stood even after dynamite explosions were set off a block away at O’Farrell and Van Ness in an effort to stop the fires.|
|1944||The chancel was refurbished for the 50th anniversary of the building’s construction.|
|1949||Centennial Celebration of the founding of St. Mark’s. c1950
Renovations to altar and installation of Ascension Window.
|1966||Martin Luther Tower residence for seniors and the Urban Life Center (containing auditorium, meeting rooms, and offices) were constructed during urban renewal of the Western Addition vicinity, as dilapidated Victorian houses made way for redevelopment. These two buildings, the plaza, and the existing St. Mark’s Church formed what became known as St. Mark’s Square.|
|1971||St. Mark’s was designated San Francisco Landmark #41 in recognition of the church’s historical and architectural significance.
|2005||Church building closed for $11 million extensive renovation and earthquake safety retrofit. (June 2005-December 2006)|
|2006||December 10. Beautifully restored church reopened and rededicated in “Fling Wide the Doors” celebration following the extensive retrofit and restoration project. Despite the many improvements and complete restoration (including, structural systems designed to withstand earthquake forces, new slate roof, exterior repairs, expanded Heritage Hall, and new nursery, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, plumbing, electrical, lighting, audio system, painting, stenciling, gilding, carpet, pew cushions, and magnificent organ) great care was taken to preserve and restore the exterior and sanctuary much like they appeared in 1895.|
|2007||CMarch 25. Dedication of tracker organ made by Taylor & Boody Organbuilders in Virginia and installed in balcony of sanctuary.
September 15. St. Mark’s awarded a 2007 Preservation Design Award by the California Preservation Foundation.
|2013||October 12. The Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts holds the first of a series of concerts at St Mark’s by internationally renowned classical guitarists!|
From the East Bay: Take the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. Exit at Ninth Street-Civic Center. Turn right onto Ninth Street. As you approach Market Street, stay to the left. You will be on Hayes Street after you cross Market Street. Continue on Hayes to Franklin. Turn right on Franklin. Take Franklin to Sutter. Turn left on Sutter. Take Sutter to Gough. Turn left on Gough. Stay in the left-hand lane. After crossing Geary, St. Mark’s parking lot is on the left, halfway between Geary and Ellis.
From the Peninsula: Take 101 north and follow the signs to the Ninth Street-Civic Center exit. Stay to the left on Ninth Street. You will be on Hayes Street after you cross Market Street. Continue on Hayes to Franklin. Turn right on Franklin. Take Franklin to Sutter. Turn left on Sutter. Take Sutter to Gough. Turn left on Gough. Stay in the left-hand lane. After crossing Geary, St. Mark’s parking lot is on the left, halfway between Geary and Ellis.
From the North Bay: Take 101 south across the Golden Gate Bridge to Lombard Street. Continue on Lombard to Gough Street. Turn right on Gough. Continue on Gough for about two miles to Geary. Go through the intersection. The entrance to St. Mark’s parking lot is about a half-block on the left.
By bus: St. Mark’s is accessible from the 38 Geary, the 31 Balboa, and the 42-47-49 Van Ness lines.