|San Francisco Kolping Society History|
In August, 1887 a small group of men belonging to St. Boniface Parish in downtown San Francisco got together and formed the "Musikalischer Dramatischer Kolping Verein". After 12 years, this group disbanded.
More than 25 years later, not until 1925, was there a successful effort in reviving the Kolping Society in San Francisco. Again St. Boniface Church was the scene. Messrs. H. Bukowsky and A. Stangl gathered a group of 18 men, and under the guidance of Mr. J. Muessiggang, re-established the society in San Francisco. They held their first regular meeting in St. Boniface Church hall on July 25, 1925.
One year after its founding, 1926, the Kolping General Praeses, Fr. Hurth, and the then General Secretary, Fr. Johannes Natterman, visited San Francisco. They were delighted to find a band of eager Kolping members. Fr. Hurth, in a speech during his stay, exhorted the members to establish a home in San Francisco. His words fell on fertile ground. The members went to work collecting funds, and at the same time looking for a suitable building. In 1927, they purchased a large Victorian on the corner of Oak and Fillmore. Although the house was in need of repairs, the society moved in and had the premises blessed by the then reigning Archbishop Edward Hanna.
The members giving unstintingly of their time and skill made all the necessary repairs. However, it soon became apparent that the house was too small. An annex was built onto the existing structure, adding six single rooms and a large social hall. The house now had 17 rooms for residents and transients, bringing the capacity up to 35 beds. Many fund raising affairs were held to defray the cost of remodeling.
The Kolping family in San Francisco grew and prospered. In 1940 two vacant lots adjoining the Kolping house were purchased. These were paved and converted into parking facilities for residents and members. Then came the big year, 1945 when the mortgage was paid off, and Kolping House San Francisco was finally free of debt.
On October 28, 1951 Kolping San Francisco celebrated its 25th anniversary with pomp and circumstance. The climax was a banquet in the St. Boniface Church hall. This, unfortunately, was also a sad year for Kolping San Francisco. Times were changing, and it was no longer possible to maintain the house at its present location, and it was decided to sell the property which had served this band of devoted Kolping members for over 30 years.
So in 1957 the property was sold. A lot was purchased on Baker and Grove Streets and elaborate planes were drawn up for a Catholic Kolping Center, combining a home, a club, a gymnasium with swimming pool, along with social facilities, all to be housed in a modern multi-storied structure. Unfortunately, the plans did not materialize. The Kolping Society was without a home for many years.
It was not until 1970 that a new home was found at 440 Taraval Street. The property was purchased and after extensive remodeling, the Kolping family moved in. During the intervening years the Kolping members conducted their meetings in the St. Boniface parish hall, and at 50 Oak Street.
1976 found the Kolping San Francisco alive and functioning, ready to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. Membership had been restricted to men only, and the time had arrived to open the membership up to ladies as well.
The Golden Jubilee of Kolping San Francisco was celebrated on November 13, 1976 with a Mass at St. Boniface Church and followed by a banquet and dance.
Activities at this time consist of monthly meetings with social functions taking place for members and friends at frequent intervals. All these activities take place at our house at 440 Taraval Street. Our plans at this time are to open up our center to the community activities.
The current Praeses is Fr. Albert Grosskopf, President is Hubert Brinkmann, and Charles Elliott is the National Board Member.
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