Supervisors landmark St. Brigid church
St. Brigid Church.
By Emmett Berg, Bay City News Service
October 3, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco supervisors voted
to preserve the exterior of St. Brigid's Church today, the latest
feint in a process one supervisor said might lead to greater community
use of the shuttered parish.
The Board of Supervisors action left unprotected for now interior
features of the church, including marble sculptures of angels,
carved oak pews and the original nave and pulpit.
"Today is all about the exterior of St. Brigid's,"
Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier said. "The interior has not
Two other supervisors -- Jake McGoldrick and Ross Mirkarimi --
said they were interested in writing a law to give the city authority
to extend landmark preservation status to the interior of buildings
identified as landmarks, not just their exterior.
St. Brigid's Church, a fixture on Van Ness Avenue since 1864,
has been cited as a classic example of Richardson Romanesque architecture.
St. Brigid's stone facade contains curbstones leftover from the
wreckage of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and several noted
artists and craft workers contributed sculpture and detail to
The Catholic archdiocese had closed the church in 1995 over the
objections of some parishioners. Some of them formed a group,
which staged demonstrations to head off demolition of the church
The Academy of Art University -- a top landowner in San Francisco--
bought the building in 2005 from the Catholic archdiocese.
Since the Academy of Art University assumed ownership, it has
petitioned the city and the state for the church to be removed
from any landmark preservation status.
Beatriz St. John, a spokeswoman for the Committee to Save St.
Brigid Church, said that despite the committee's desire "to
landmark the whole building," advocates were pleased that
the city's action would put wind in their sails in advance of
an Oct. 27 hearing before a state agency overseeing landmarks.
"We're concerned about the interior," St. John said.
"But right now our plate's full. We think this will help
us before the hearing" before the California Office of Historic
Academy of Art officials did not immediately respond to questions
on their position on the landmark action and future plans for
Supevisor Alioto-Pier said she hoped that the city's continuing
dialogue with the school would lead to the building's reuse as
a performance hall.
"We are lucky they are the people who bought this,"
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