Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunrise Services on Mt. Davidson

Special thanks to the official Mt. Davidson website for providing content for this article, you can find them here.

There are many monuments which grace the San Francisco skyline: Coit Tower, The Ferry Building, Sutro Tower, but there is one that often goes unnoticed, or unrecognized. I am talking of course of the 100-foot cross which sits atop Mount Davidson overlooking the city. This is the place where Easter Services at sunrise have been a tradition for almost 80 years.

The story behind this monument is an interesting one, as the cross was built and destroyed three times before Margaret May Morgan, the first woman to sit on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and others on the Easter Sunrise Committee, solicited $1+ contributions to built the concrete cross in 1934.

In 1991, several organizations, including the Americans for separation of church and state, sued the City of San Francisco for owning a cross on city (public) land, and several court battles ensued. Eventually the courts forced the City to either tear down the Cross or sell it to a private entity. In 1997, Proposition F was put forth to the voters of San Francisco to allow the Council of Armenian American Organizations of Northern California to become the legal owner of the Mt. Davidson Cross and assume the responsibility for maintaining it. It was unanimously approved.

As for me, I recall my mother always wanted to take us kids to the Easter sunrise service, yet never quite being able to (I am not sure why). The only other memory I have of this monument is that it became the place in high school to hang out and do things that people probably shouldn't be doing at the foot of a 100-foot cross. As I look back now, I sort of wish we'd taken our drinking and smoking someplace else.

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