AKA: Swedenborgian Church, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: Brown, A. Page, Architect (firm); Maybeck, Bernard R., Architect (firm); Schweinfurth, A.C., Architect (firm); Arthur Page Brown (architect); Bernard Ralph Maybeck (architect); Albert Cicero Schweinfurth (architect)

Dates: constructed 1895

1 story

2107 Lyon Street
Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA 94115

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Building History

Besides architect A. Page Brown (1859-1896), architects Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957) and Albert Cicero Schweinfurth (1863-1900), and painter William Keith (1838-1911) and artist Bruce Porter (1865-1953) provided input on the final design. Reverend Joseph Worcester (1836-1913) also influenced the simplicity of the building's conception.

Building Notes

The writer Helen Throop Purdy wrote of the Church of the New Jerusalem in her 1912 history/guidebook, San Francisco as It Was, as It Is, and How to See It:“First in the hearts of those who love San Francisco for her unique artistic spots is the little Swedenborgian church on the corner of Washington and Lyon streets. But it is to something deeper than the artistic sense that the quest loveliness of this church appeals; an island of simple beauty in a sea of artificiality, it sheds its benign influence over all who enter its gates. No on of whatever creed or denomination can leave that spot unblessed; no troubled spirit can fail to be soothed by its sweet serenity. The fern-bordered brick-paved entrance leads into a green-walled yard where all city noises are shut out by the bordering shrubberies, where the sunlight filters through the purple of the Japanese plum and the green of other trees, where birds are singing and dipping their wings in the cistern set in the grass for their use, where here and there a few flowers or blossoming shrubs give just the right touch of color, and the whole is blended with the church itself by the vines and climbing roses which clothe it. One would fain linger in this quiet spot where worldly cares slip away and peace steals into the soul; but the yard is a fitting vestibule for the church within. Entering, one finds simplicity and sincerity the keynotes of the church and service. The natural-wood finish, the roof supports of logs still bark covered, the decorations of lichen-covered branches and vases of picturesque seed-vessels, all with their browns and grays warmed by tempered sunlight, and firelight from the great fireplace at the end of the room, form a fit setting for the four beautiful paintings by Keith which cover the northern wall; paintings whose mellow tones and Wonderfull depths emerge from the dusky light, and are printed on the consciousness during the hour of reverent service.” (See Helen Throop Purdy, San Francisco as It Was, as It Is, and How to See it, [San Francisco: Paul Elder and Company, 1912], pp. 109-110.)

National Register of Historic Places (Listed 2004-08-18): 04001154 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 13219