Sacred Heart Parish of San Francisco, at the corner of Fillmore and Fell Streets, is a readily recognizable landmark from many vantage points in the City, overlooking the Western Addition and the Hayes Valley neighborhoods. Completed in 1898, Sacred Heart Parish represents the last ecclesiastical building still standing by architect, Thomas John Welsh.

Unwilling to spend the money required to seismically retrofit one of the only two churches of its kind in California, the Catholic Archdiocese closed Sacred Heart. The church was sold, and earlier plans for its demolition put aside. Parishoners and others in the community saught to dialog with the new owner on the church's continuing preservation and its adaptive reuse as an ecumenical and community resource.

In 2013 the building reopened to become The Church of the 8 Wheels, a 6,000 square-foot rollerskating rink. Its transformation can be viewed here. Following repairs and renovations, David J. Miles, Jr., aka the "Godfather of Skate" is hopeful in face of threats of demolition by redevelopment. Closed briefly during Covid, the Church of the 8 Wheels reopened late 2020 with the installation of an air filtration system.

Sacred Heart Church Stripped of Historical Elements

6/10/10 Update from Save Our Sacred Heart
It is with great regret that we inform all interested parties that the current owners of the property at Fillmore and Fell have chosen to remove the two rose windows and at least one of the marble altars from Sacred Heart Church, a building which has been declared eligible for national landmark status. According to city officials, no permits were issued by the City of San Francisco for removal of these irreplaceable objects. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection has posted a Stop Work Order which appears to be being ignored by the work crew.

Mirkarimi Resolution Goes to Supervisors

We have been informed that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will have a resolution before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday June 15, 2010 concerning the preservation of Sacred Heart Church. Although the interior may have been stripped and the rose windows removed, city landmark status could still save the exterior. We are asking that all members and friends of SOS Heart give their support to this effort. Please e-mail or call members of the Board of Supervisors and ask them to endorse Supervisor Mirkarimi's resolution.

Save Our Sacred Heart wishes to thank Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Vallie Brown, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, our friends from St. Brigid's, and all others who have been of assistance in attempting, so far unsuccessfully, to halt these actions.

The images above reveal some of the ornament and architectural detail in Sacred Heart of San Francisco. Sacred Heart’s three white Carrara marble altars were designed by Milan-born Attilio Moretti (1852-1915) and unveiled to the public in 1910 for the parish’s Silver Jubilee. The main altar is 25 feet long, 37 feet high and weights 95 tons. The altars were carved in Italy by Gighli and Vanelli and installed by John Catto’s monument company under Moretti’s supervision. The painting at the center of the main altar was done by an unknown German artist working for Munich-based Fritz, Mayer & Co., best known for its stained glass. The same company created the two rose windows in the transepts in 1909.

Later in the 1920’s, the well-known early 20th century muralist Achille G. Disi created Sacred Heart’s ceiling art. As a result of the 89 Loma Prieta quake, the murals on the ceiling have been covered by protective netting. Also affected by the quake, the 1933 Hook and Hastings organ has remained unused in the choir loft for fear the vibrations might damage the ceiling. In the early 1980s, Keven McGown dedicated nine months to restoring the organ as a gift to Sacred Heart before succumbing to AIDS.

SF Examiner - June 11, 2010
Historic Items from Sacred Heart Sold to Benefit Academy

SF Chronicle - July 28, 2005
Sacred Heart's Salvation: Lawyer Fred Furth pays $5 million for Catholic church

SF Examiner - July 26, 2005
High-flying lawyer, philanthropist hopes to save city schools

SF Chronicle - May 13, 2005
Seeking Mercy for Sacred Heart - Parishioners Challenge Archdiocese Plan to Sell

SF Chronicle - December 27, 2004 Final Mass at Sacred Heart

SF Chronicle - September 27, 2004
Sacred Heart Gets No Help from Above

SF Chronicle -September 25, 2004
Plan to Close Church Lamented –
Sacred Heart Needs $8 Million in Repairs

SF Chronicle - September 20, 2004
Closure Draws Crowd to Mass; Some Parishoners Hope for Miracle to Preserve Church

SF Chronicle - September 18, 2004
Parishoners Decry Plan to Close Church.

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