This fall, the Waller Center (1525 Waller St.) is undergoing a major restoration.
A workers make repairs to the roof and dry rot-plagued walls, the building is still open for limited services, despite being scaffold-sheathed.
One of the casualties of the work, as pictured above, was a mural by artist Charles D. Lobdell called The Spirit of Youth in America, which fronted Belvedere Street and dated back 40 years.
The work on the facility is its first major construction in 17 years.
The structure, built in 1906, is one of a handful of hidden neighborhood architectural treasures and was designed by California architect Julia Morgan, whose buildings include the Zen Center (300 Page St.), the Chinese Historical Society (965 Clay St.).
Farther afield, Morgan was one of the designers of the Hearst family estate Wyntoon and the sole architect of Hearst Castle in San Simeon. The city hasn't granted Waller Center historic status, but it is age-eligible.
Legally known as "Hamilton Methodist-Episcopal Church," the building is a community center and "urban retreat" that's operated by the Board of Camping and Retreat Ministries of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
In addition to providing space for community, religious and nonprofit groups, the organization also hosts the Haight-Ashbury Food Program, after-school basketball and senior yoga.
The ongoing work will restore the building to some of its former glory. Other improvements will include a new parking lot, fencing, and windows, with work wrapping up this winter.
In an email, Director Maggie Lohmeyer said the renovations would allow the center to offer more services. "We are hoping that with the renovations we will be able to host more community events and offer greater safety to our groups that stay overnight for retreats," she wrote. "The Waller Center is also hoping to be able to use the space previously used as a sanctuary to host local events like choir or theater performances and community meetings."
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