Cathedral Hill is a relatively small neighborhood of about eight square blocks and so named because it’s home to several large Christian churches from a number of different denominations. I worked in the heart of it for a number of years. The king of the hill is the modernist cathedral for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, St. Mary of the Assumption. Some people describe it as a big washing machine, as its unusual looking top resembles an old fashioned washer’s agitator. According to Wiki, the top is made up of “…eight segments of hyperbolic paraboloids”. It was built in 1971, just after the Second Vatican Council, which had relaxed Church building codes. The design of the cathedral itself, in my opinion, is stunning, especially the interior. I fell in love with it when I attended a performance of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor; the acoustics in sanctuary are excellent.The 9:00 AM Sunday mass is beautifully sung in Gregorian Chant.
There’s a lot of San Francisco history within short walking distance; Archbishop Cordileone is very lucky to be here (actually, I think it’s San Francisco that’s very lucky to have him!). Kitty-corner from the cathedral is the Chancery of the archdiocese. When I worked across the street from it, the building was abandoned and in disrepair and attracted the homeless. Continue reading “San Francisco’s Cathedral Hill: A Brief Tour of an Historic Neighborhood”