A historic San Francisco church that was destroyed to help stop fires after the Great Quake of 1906 will celebrate a milestone tonight on the 100th anniversary of its rebirth.

Old First Presbyterian Church at 1751 Sacramento St. will relive history at a ceremony re-enacting the laying of its cornerstone in 1911 that will include period costumes, ragtime music and memorabilia, church officials said.

The church, which claims to be the oldest Protestant congregation in California, was established in 1849. Before the church was built at Van Ness Avenue and Sacramento Street in 1882, members held services in public courthouses, warehouses, and other buildings.

After the building was blown up as part of a firebreak to protect the city from the devastating blazes sparked by the 1906 earthquake, nearly five years passed before it was reconstructed on Aug. 29, 1911.

Today, the historic church has 175 members. City officials and Bay Area religious leaders will help celebrate the 100th anniversary at 6 p.m.

Rachel Purdy, Bay City News

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