Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Found Photo!

Thanks goodness for this blog!

A kind stranger who collects large film negatives located this amongst his thousands, marked, "S. Berger 1949." He googled the name and found this blog!

He shared this wonderful photo of Sam in his studio carving Lady Fatima for St. Brigid's School in San Francisco. The statue still remains, and we're looking forward to seeing it in person!

I purchased the 8 by 10 negative, and am forever grateful to have found this wonderful image. Shows how powerful the internet is!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Once a Sleuth, Always a Sleuth

I've been trying for quite some time, to locate the whereabouts of Sam's carving studio. I knew it was somewhere in San Francisco, but the exact location was unknown. 

I'm an avid collector of San Francisco memorabilia, as well as a self-employed antiques dealer. So, it was quite helpful to acquire a 1932 San Francisco telephone directory. I quickly turned to the back pages, looking under "woodcarving," and, lo and behold, found Sam's carving studio's address ---390-9th Street, between Harrison & Sheridan, south of Market. Built in 1923. I can't tell you how excited I was to find this! Could it be that simple? No, that phone book was the key. 

The space is still in existence, and is now is "The Floor Store."

the actual block (1938) looking south from Folsom Street

I quickly went to my Facebook group, "San Francisco Remembered," to see if anyone had any resources that I wasn't aware of. I was directed to various places. My friend Art found this photo (above) from opensfhistory.org, showing the actual block in 1938, looking south from Folsom Street, so the shop isn't visible. Being the sleuth that I am, I will be taking a trip soon to the San Francisco Public Library's history department photo archives. They have a wealth of information and photos. Perhaps I'll get lucky and find a photo of the studio. For now, I'm just thrilled to know where it was located!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Star of the Sea Parish, San Francisco

Last week my husband and I visited Star of the Sea Parish, a Catholic Church located at 4420 Geary Blvd. in San Francisco.

I didn't have much history about the work that my great-grandfather did at this parish, but was thrilled when I was doing my investigative work, which I love so much, to notice a familiar carving on their altar. I rifled through loads of my old black and white photos to find an exact match to the carvings!





Stunning in person! You can see such dimension after they were gilded.

The following photos are of what I believe Sam carved. His workmanship has a pattern and the beautiful carved ceilings and altar walls are distinctly his work.

such intricate carving dealing on the ceiling...

The stations look undoubtedly like his work

The confessionals as well...

I'm unsure if he did the pews and altar railing, but they very well could be his work.

Martin Ford, the business manager of the parish, kindly took us to the rectory to look through various folders of old receipts to see if there were any traces of Sam Berger. Found nothing, but it was quite interesting and very generous of him to let us in private quarters.

Such a lovely visit to a lovely parish in the Richmond District of San Francisco. 

Now off to see more!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

St. Cecilia's Parish Upcoming Centennial

left to right: Veronica, MER, Lynn, Diane

This past Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Mer and Veronica from St. Cecilia's Church in San Francisco. They are working tirelessly on the St. Cecilia's Centennial photo archive.

My cousin Diane, Sam's granddaughter, helped fill in many blanks regarding my great-grandfather's legacy. 

They spent most of the day at my house, going through images, newspapers, etc. scanning and scanning...

Mer and Veronica are part of the team at St. Cecilia's that are planning the 100th year of St. Cecilia Parish, January 7, 2017.

They are creating a photo archive for the Centennial. Images from the archive will be used throughout the Centennial year for monthly photo displays and a commemorative book. They are looking for old and new photos, as well as other memorabilia, from their church, school, and parish ministries. They are collecting photos through May of 2016. 

Trying to put the pieces together...

It wasn't easy going through bins of unmarked photos to find anything related to the church, since the photos were of different churches that Sam worked for.

Diane and I...great-granddaughter and granddaughter to Sam Berger

What church is this from? No one knows...

If you have any photos you'd like to contribute to St. Cecilia's,  please contact Mer Ring, Class of 1977, at mer2832@yahoo.com.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

Shown in these photos was the second St. Mary's Cathedral, built on Van Ness Avenue and O'Farrell Streets, San Francisco, in 1891. Sam Berger did much of the wood carving for this lovely church. The photo above was located amongst troves of Berger archive photos, and is quite rare. I was thrilled to find it, and am searching for more.

School children gathered on the steps of St. Mary's to greet President Teddy Roosevelt when he visited in 1903. It survived the 1906 earthquake and fire and gave out food to the refugees during the reconstruction. 

The fire...

Sadly, this church served the community until gutted by an arson fire on September 7, 1962. It was demolished in favor of a new modern cathedral built 2 blocks further up the hill on Geary Blvd.

The original St. Mary's Cathedral was built in 1851 on California Street at Dupont (now Grant Avenue).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jewish Carpenter's Legacy

I'm thrilled to share this article about Sam from the National Catholic Register. It gives a detailed account of Sam's travels from Romania to San Francisco and how his wood carving graced the churches of Northern California.

Thanks Jim Graves for the lovely story.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mission Dolores Basilica: Now

Last week my photographer Kassie and I took a trip to visit Mission Dolores Basilica. It was more amazing than I could ever anticipate. When I realized that all of the carving was done by my great-grandfather, it was really surreal. He carved everything including the alter, ceiling, stations of the cross, and more. It's quite fun to compare the original carvings prior to being painted, and then to see them in their current place. 

It was a dark, rainy day, but here are some lovely shots that Kassie captured. I'll also be adding some photos later that my family took many years ago.

Enjoy this beautiful church!

images: Kassie Borreson, Haus Frau Fotografie