Why is there an empty lot at 15th and Dolores?

San Francisco
There’s been an empty lot at the corner of 15th and Dolores for well over a decade. Despite a sign promising condos to be built in “Fall 2010” (oops!) the empty lot is only used once a year to sell Christmas trees.

So what used to be there? It turns out the lot was once home to the First Southern Baptist Church, aka the Dolores Street Baptist Church. According to their website, they were a very liberal Baptist church that accepted LGBT folks.

In 1993, the church received an angry letter from a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who disagreed with the church’s views. The next day, the church was burned to the ground by an arsonist. Coincidence? Probably not, but nobody knows for certain.

Since then the site has been an empty lot.

Oh, and what about the boarded-up house next to it that’s falling apart? That was the parsonage of the church, aka where the pastor would have lived. The building is partly fire damaged and is slated to be rebuilt eventually.

The church’s congregation finally disbanded last year, but the community center they spawned, Dolores Street Community Services, is still in operation.