Something doesn’t quite look right when you drive past the old St. Anne’s church and .
Though the aging building stopped holding services in December 2010, the former church site seemed intact from the exterior, until last week. That’s when its decades-old stained glass pieces were removed.
It caused concern from some community members worried about whether the building, which was built in 1926, was going to be sold.
But that isn’t the case — yet.
“It’s standard practice for an old church like that to remove the windows,” said Jan Potts, administrative assistant with the Diocese of Oakland, which owns the building located at 3880 Smith St. The windows are being removed for safety, she added.
Though the building is unoccupied and the Diocese has received inquiries about the sale of the site, the Diocese is not actively marketing it, Potts said. “The Diocese hasn’t decided what to do,” she said.
The Catholic mission was most recently used for religious services for the deaf and Polish communities and also served Korean and Indonesian groups, according to Potts.
From 1992 up until Dec. 30, 2010, members of the Polish community and the Hayward-based St. Joseph’s Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing worshipped at the church, according to The Catholic Voice, the publication of the Oakland Diocese. It was a blow to the deaf community, for whom sign language mass was moved from the church to the Hayward center office building.
The mission was shut down due to its deteriorating state, The Catholic Voice reported at the time of its closing.
“There are major repair issues related to both the church building and the building currently being used by the school,” Diocese of Oakland staff told the publication. “Anticipated costs for repairs are substantial.”
To continue using the building for worship, the facility would have required a major overhaul, including dry rot repairs and repairs to the stained glass itself, which was beginning to fall apart. The building would also have to be brought to current code standards for earthquake and fire safety and the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Catholic Voice reported.
While many know that the church was the previous , it wasn’t the original one.
According to local historian Timothy Swenson’s Alvarado Walking Tour guide, the first St. Anne’s church was built in 1862 as a small, wooden building located behind the Smith Street location. The mission-style building was erected in 1926, with the original wooden church demolished in 1935.
Outgrowing the Smith Street location, a new St. Anne’s was built in 1983 at 32223 Cabello St., where services continue today.
If the building is sold, what would you like to see at the old St. Anne’s site? Or would you rather the mission be preserved? Tell us in the comments section below.