The National Register of Historic Places in the County of Santa Cruz may soon add another Santa Cruz County jewel – the Wee Kirk Church.
The Wee Kirk Presbyterian Church in Ben Lomond, California has been nominated by Lisa A. Robinson, a San Lorenzo Valley historian and director of the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.
The church is a tall building, with a steeply pitched gable room, bell tower and entrance portico. Community residents know it best by its bell – which children are welcomed to ring – and by the large redwood tree on its eastern side.
The church was built by the Ben Lomond Land and Lumber Company in 1891 and offered to any religious organization that would hold regular services. The Presbyterian Church organization purchased it for $900. It consists of two adjoined buildings. The first structure is the church built on the south west corner of Central Avenue and Main Street. The second is a hotel cottage which was moved to the site in 1923 from a nearby location.
In 1929, the church windows were replaced with memorial stained glass lights, and in 1949 church members decided to change the name of the church to the Wee Kirk of Ben Lomond, a name chosen because of the large number of people of Scottish descent in the area.
The building was sold in 1969, when the congregation merged with the Felton Presbyterian Church congregation. It was used as office space and storage until 2014, when it was purchased by Dr. Steven Leib and his wife, Vivian.
The Leibs have restored the building beautifully and with historical accuracy. The building is now used as Dr. Leib’s Country Doctor family medicine practice.
Dr. Steven Leib and his wife, Vivian, purchased the building in 2014, restored it using appropriate historical treatments and have used it as Dr. Leib’s Country Doctor Family Medical Practice.
Photo courtesy of the Press Banner