When Was Emmanuel Baptist Church Torn Down?

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Anyone who has ever read any of the accounts of the Emmanuel Baptist Church murders, which brought normal business in San Francisco to a standstill in 1895, will notice that even the most detail minded authors resorted to guessing when Emmanuel Baptist Church on Bartlett Street - between 22nd and 23rd streets in the Mission - was torn down (c. 1916). That includes Jackson & Offord's 'The Girl In the Belfry,' Felix Cherniavsky's 'The Salome Dancer,' Robert Graysmith's 'The Bell Tower,' and even Virginia O'Connell's recent 'Sympathy for the Devil." Yes, I have tried the Planning Commission, the Recorder's Office, and even various Baptist Church sources responsible for such records, but I still didn't find it. Now I'm offering a copy of Felix Cherniavsky's excellent 308 page book as a gift to the first person who can document the exact date. Thanks, Hamilton Barrett, Mimereader@aol.com, or POB 42-4357,

-- Hamilton Barrett (Mimereader@aol.com), August 01, 2002


Well, if you agree that the address of record for Emmanuel Baptist was 181 Bartlett you have a starting point. The building currently at that address is on the Assessors Record book as having been built in 1910.

Good luck in your research.

-- Kurt Iversen (iversenk@aol.com), August 01, 2002.

This is just a placeholder post -- I'm running to check my sources, but as best I recall: It burned. Got rebuilt. Burned down again. Somebody up there doesn't like the place. I walked all over 22nd and Bartlett, foot by foot, and couldn't figure out where it had been or what exactly is built there now.

I'm betting the street numbers got reassigned. Not uncommon; go up Washington Street and just try to find the house in front of which Paul Stine was murdered. Number gone. I imagine people got really fed up with Zodiac buffs staring at the place.

-- Rosa (rosadebon@yahoo.com), August 01, 2002.

Hello Kurt and Rosa! Thanks for probing at this long time puzzle:

The former location of the church is accurately known. The City Directories in the 1890s usually just said that the church was between 22nd & 23rd streets on Bartlett, then listed 131 Bartlett as the church residence; but I also found a SINGLE source saying that someone wrote 129 Bartlett as the church address into one of its own books.

Based on a fire insurance street map at the SF Main Library's 6th floor history department, the church stood MOSTLY where that four story apartment building is now at today's 155-165 Bartlett.

Additionally, according to a newspaper drawing from 1895, the church's north yard even occupied the lot where 151-153 Bartlett stands today (It just looks older, and many people forget that the church had that northern space).

And both a 1922 property sale record at the Assessor's Office, and a Masonic history book, confirm that the church's property covered what's now a Masonic parking lot on the south side (Assessor's Lot 43). The church had a narrow yard and rector's residence on its

-- Hamilton Barrett (Mimereader@aol.com), August 01, 2002.

This is late, I know, but I havent been able to get onto the board -- server problems? Whatever.

Who's got the street directory for 1895? The church is Emanuel Baptist Church, not Lutheran church. It's sometimes spelled "Immanuel." There is a current EBC in San Francisco (Immanuel Baptist Church 2919 23rd St San Francisco, CA, 415-821- 1650), but it's not the same one. The old one was supposed to be at the corner of 22nd and Bartlett.

One of the research problems is the variant spellings: Durant is often spelled with two "R"s -- many sources spell it with one, just as Emanuel Baptist sometimes has two "M"s in it. Also, he's sometimes found only under his full name, "William Henry Theodore Durrant."

Putting "Theodore Durrant" into google gets you three pages of article links.

From this site, http://www.lawlibrary.state.mn.us/ar2000/trialbib6b.html, you might find a full writeup of the case: "Durrant, William Henry Theodore, defendant. Report of the trial of William Henry Theodore Durrant indicted for the murder of Blanche Lamont, before the Superior Court of the city and court of San Francisco. Detroit: The Collector Pub. Co; 1899; vi p., 1, 214 p. KF223.D8 P4 1899. Durrant indicted in 1895 in San Francisco for murder of Blanche Lamont, an innocent, trusting young lady, active in Baptist Church. Her body was discovered in church belfry day before Easter, brutally murdered. Defendant active in same church, known to have been keeping company with Blanche. Body of Minnie Williams found shortly thereafter. Both women died of strangulation. No motive for crime except lust. Account of trial in the Blanche Lamont case written in narrative fashion; excellent writing, clear and easy to follow, gives substance of testimony of each witness. Plot unfolds in enticing manner; reads like a mystery. Skill of trial lawyers on both sides illustrated in the account of testimony of each witness. Speech to jury of district attorney in Lamont case a masterful performance; printed in full;excellent style; clear, word pictures of events. Speeches of lawyers on both sides worth studying, and their method of development of their viewpoint of case is worth analysis. Defendant found guilty of both murders."

This place claims to quote Durant's last words: http://www.alsirat.com/lastwords/atod/durrant.html -- "Don't put that rope on, boy until I talk."

This place, http://www.twbookmark.com/books/4/0446603899/, has a review of a book on serial killers. It's by Colin Wilson which puts me off to begin with -- he's so effing positive he knows everything about crime and you don't. But at least he's (marginally) better than Richard Glyn Jones, whose books of cut and paste articles are real typographical error festivals.

Here's is an ancestry research site full of newspaper abstracts. Gracious, this one's fun, if only for the palpable contempt in which it holds Mr. Durrant and a certain unclarity as to whether it has any sympathy for the victims: http://newspaperabstracts.com/KY/Adair/1898/JAN.html

-- Rosa (rosadebon@yahoo.com), August 09, 2002.

Yes, it's true, there's a ton of information on this case - but no one has ever published a date for when the church was torn down.

-- Hamilton Barrett (Mimereader@aol.com), January 23, 2003.

I have changed servers, but as I'm still seeking the demolition date for Emmanuel Baptist Church, this is my new address:

-- Hamilton Barrett (Mimereader2@Yahoo.com), November 19, 2004.

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