San Francisco County
CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS
One of the most interesting church histories in San Francisco is that of the original Church of the Holy Cross, situated at 1820 Eddy street, and now used as a parish hall. It is the oldest building used as a Catholic Church in this city, with the exception of the Old Mission Dolores on Delores street. Old records show, however, that the first Holy Cross Church in this city stood in 1870 on Geary street, opposite where the car barns are now, and in a corner of the old Calvary Cemetery. The territory served by this old church was very extensive in those days, extending roughly from Larkin street to the ocean and from Market street to the Golden Gate, and was under the care of the Rev. J. Largan, who died in 1878. The present Holy Cross Parish was formed in October, 1887, under the Rev. John F. McGinty, and at the time extended from Buchanan street to the ocean and from Fulton street to the Golden Gate, a district now occupied by five other parishes. The first building to be used as a church in this new parish was the original St. Patrick’s Church, which was erected on the present site of the Palace Hotel on Market street in 1852. The material used in its construction was brought to San Francisco in a sailing vessel around the Horn. A short time before the Palace Hotel was built in 1876, the church was moved to Eddy street opposite Jefferson square, and there renamed St. John’s Church. In 1891 it was moved again to its present site on Eddy street, became Holy Cross Church, was used as the parish church till the present one was dedicated in 1899, and is now serving the purposes of a parish hall. The boundaries of Holy Cross Parish today are from Geary along Buchanan to McAllister, to Parker avenue, to Geary, to St. Joseph’s avenue, to O’Farrell, to Webster, to Geary, back to Buchanan. Nearly two-fifths of this district is occupied by old cemeteries. During the earthquake and fire of 1906, the stone towers of the church were shaken down and the pipe-organ crushed by the falling masonry, damages which were soon repaired. About five hundred families comprise this prosperous parish of San Francisco, and affiliated with the church are the various Catholic religious societies. The Rev. J. W. Brockhage, of whom a short biography appears upon another page of this work, is the present pastor of Holy Cross Church, having succeeded the Rev. John F. McGinty on March 4, 1918.
Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
Source: Byington, Lewis Francis, “History of San Francisco 3 Vols”, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1931. Vol. 3 Pages 218-219.
© 2008 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.