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New apartments in historic Duboce Triangle church building for rent

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Building originally served as house of worship for San Francisco’s Norwegian population

A 1920s SF apartment building. Photos by Lieben Architects

From the curb, the circa-1923 building at 750 14th Street doesn’t look much different from other San Francisco apartment buildings.

But this Duboce Triangle redoubt, where several brand new “townhome style” apartments are now for rent, turns out to house quite a bit of neighborhood history.

According to a 2016 application looking to add new units to the building—these same ones for rent right now—it originally served as a church for San Francisco’s Norwegian population:

The building was designed by architect Wilson J Whythe in 1923 in the Gothic Revival Style, and was commissioned by the First Norwegian Danish Methodist Episcopal Church to serve the Duboce Triangle neighborhood’s Scandinavian population.

The primary character-defining features of the building include its Gothic Revival exterior, the first floor Chapel space and clerestory windows, as well as its integration of residential living spaces with a Chapel and worship space in the same building. ‘

At the time, parts of the building were still being used for worship by the Golden City Church.

The application also noted that “the building appears to be eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources” due to its significance to the city’s Scandinavian immigration history and its Gothic Revival architecture.

Little of the latter-day Gothicism is visible from the exterior anymore, although some details, like the shape of a window or some of the interior elements of the church space, still stand out.

Even something as small as a recent repainting from the building’s previous one-note color scheme helps highlight some of the detail.

According to architect Heidei Liebes, the new homes were previously office spaces used by clerical staff. The nave of the church is still intact and will continue to lease out for churchgoing uses.

Planning Department records say that current owners Janet and Morris Herscowitz bought the building in 2009 for more than $2.9 million. Now that the new additions are ready to go, the largest of the new units rents for nearly $5,000/month.