Hayes and Buchanan: Past and Future

by Gail Baugh

Image courtesy San Francisco Public Library

Can you imagine an enormous church at the corner of Hayes and Buchanan? The spire reached over 100 feet in the air, and the building itself towered over the surrounding community. The Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church was already there in the 1880’s, and there are photos from the Sacred Heart bell tower showing the Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church and towering spire, as the 1906 fire approaches up Hayes Street from the east. During the 40’s and 50’s, the church became a place for young boys to have a place to play and for the jazz musicians from the Fillmore to practice. Old timers say the church had great acoustics. The church is gone now, abandoned by its congregation before the Second World War and demolished during the Urban Renewal time of the 1960’s, replaced with a new playground and clubhouse for the kids in the neighborhood. The playground remained nearly the same as the day it was built for the next 50 years, installing different playground equipment during this time.

Now is a new time, with new ideas, but the priority of children having a safe place to play never changes. Our new playground and living roof clubhouse will open in early 2011. We hope you will be part of this new play space. Watch the blue tile exterior and planted roof take shape. We expect this new space to become another center to meet and make new friends. Join us as the neighborhood takes another step forward to regenerate our open space.

HVNA is collecting architectural history of the neighborhood, with the hopes of putting together a map and history of interesting places and homes. Please share your architectural history knowledge. Email voice@hayesvalleysf.org