Side view of church

A year later it was moved once again to its present location on Oak Grove Avenue. The moves prompted one local wit to call it "the roamin' Catholic Church." On moving to the new site, the chapel was enlarged into a church, the present altar and tower were built, and a 1,200-pound bell was forged and installed as a gift of Peter Donohue, the "Iron King" of Comstock Silver Mine lore. The bell rang for the first time on Christmas day, 1881. Around 1888, the church was again enlarged -- the transept was added along with a small sacristy. The remodeled church was dedicated February 12, 1888, by Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco. In 1900 the beautiful rose window was donated by the Altar Society and placed over the main altar. In the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the Church was virtually untouched, but the rectory suffered heavy damage when a fallen chimney crashed through the roof and trapped several priests on the second floor. They escaped unhurt down fire department ladders.

Architecturally, the Church of the Nativity is typical of many parish churches built around the end of the 19th century when timber was abundant and skilled carpenters were available. It resembles many such churches in New England. The basic cruciform plan has remained fairly consistent since the early English Medieval parish churches, whose architecture design became known as Gothic, and is distinguished by pointed arches, buttresses, and pinnacles. Nativity Church is constructed of redwood, which has been painted white. It features brilliant, hand-made stained glass windows, unique hand-carved side altars, and is surrounded by lawns, palm and oak trees.

The Church of the Nativity was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1981.



Interior of the church


©2006 The Church of the Nativity