St. Peter and Paul Church San Francisco

Image by Kathleen Messmer

St. Peter and Paul Church – The ruse

I pass by St. Peter and Paul Cathedral all the time when I’m in North Beach. It’s directly across the street from Washington Square Park (which is currently being redone). It’s a beautiful church and I recently became interested in it because I’d heard that Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio got married there. Being a Marilyn Monroe buff, I looked into it further and discovered that that claim is not quite accurate.

It turns out that Joe got a divorce from his first wife whom he married in this church, so in order to get properly divorced in the eyes of the church, he’d have to get the first marriage annulled through the church. He didn’t. Consequently, he and Marilyn couldn’t get married there. What they did instead was, after their civil ceremony at city hall, they went to the church and took pictures on the steps in front so it appeared they got married there. Scandalous!

That’s not all I find interesting about this church. On the exterior, the architect saw fit to adorn it with what I thought was a winged cow. Turns out, it and the three other animals embellishing the exterior are in order: an ox (St. Luke), a lion (St. Mark), and an eagle (St. John). 

Both interesting choices for sure — on the part of Marilyn and Joe and the architect.

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Details about this spot



666 Filbert Street, San Francisco

Telephone number


Opening Times

Mon - Fri 07:00 - 16:00, Sat - Sun 07:00 - 18:00




Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)