Thursday, August 9, 2007

No. 53 - (Old) St Peter’s Episcopal Church and Harbor View Cemetery

(Old) St Peter's Episcopal Church

(Old) St Peter’s Episcopal Church and Harbor View Cemetery
1884/1883
Harbor View Memorial Park, Grand Avenue and 24th Street, San Pedro – map
Declared: 12/6/67

The site’s declaration marker states Historic-Cultural Monument No. 53 is “San Pedro’s Oldest Church and First Cemetery”. That would be St Peter’s Episcopal Church (1884) and Harbor View Cemetery, previously known as San Pedro Cemetery (1883).

(Old) St Peter's Episcopal Church

This is the third site for the St Peter’s building. The first was on Beacon Street, between 2nd and 3rd, and the second was at 10th and Mesa Streets, having been relocated in 1904. In 1956, the building was deconsecrated and moved to its current home. Most recently the Carpenter Gothic structure was used for concerts. I write “most recently”, but it must’ve been many, many moons ago. (However, McGrew and Julian said in 1994, in Landmarks of Los Angeles, that it was available at that time for public use.) The new St Peter’s Episcopal Church building is now on 9th Street.

(Old) St Peter's Episcopal Church

The San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce reports the “church features hand-hewed pews and an alter [sic]. Its lectern is upheld by an intricately-carved wooden angel. All are of redwood.”

The building’s in somewhat sad shape, the victim of the elements and vandals. (The Sunday afternoon I was there, a pack of teenagers was stretched out, sucking on some beers, in front of the church. Now, I’m all for teens drinking in graveyards, but, in my day, we at least waited until nightfall. I mean they waited until nightfall. Heh.)

(Old) St Peter's Episcopal Church

So looking at this big patch of destruction below, you can see where a couple dozen shingles have been ripped away, exposing those base slats of wood.

(Old) St Peter's Episcopal Church

(Old) St Peter’s Episcopal Church and Harbor View Cemetery

Harbor View Cemetery

As for the cemetery itself, it was spread out on land deeded by A.W. Timms, whose obelisk monument takes center circle in the graveyard. To read whose remains remain here, see this site for the meticulous marker research done by the South Bay Cities Genealogical Society. While at the cemetery, I noted more than a few early 20th century children’s graves, along with the resting places of a couple of Freemasons and members of the OES, which my research shows stands for either Order of the Eastern Star or Old English Sheepdog.

Harbor View Cemetery

Harbor View Cemetery

This mausoleum at the cemetery’s entrance bears the name “Rudecinda”. That’s Rudecinda Sepulveda, whose corpse is inside keeping company with an unknown number of other Sepulvedas. The good folks at the San Pedro Bay Historical Society let me know they’re awaiting confirmation from the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks as to who else exactly lies in Sepulveda’s tomb. Rudecinda was the granddaughter of Delores Sepulveda, original owner of the Palos Verdes Rancho. (See a Myron Chester Nutting painting of Rudecinda half-way down this page.) She married James Dodson in the 1880s. HCM No. 147, The Dodson House, now on West 13th Street, was built for the newlyweds by her parents. Rudecinda Sepulveda Dodson Middle School bears her name today.

Harbor View Cemetery

Below: Carrie May Barton, who died the day after Christmas, 1888.

Harbor View Memorial Cemetery

Below: The resting place of Mr Recreation, “Big George”.

Harbor View Cemetery

Poor Tina Clooten (OES) passed more than half a century ago, but good ol’ Pat is still going strong at 126.

Harbor View Cemetery

Harbor View Cemetery

I can’t even comment on the irony of vandals destroying the memorial to the family of Love.

Harbor View Cemetery

In conclusion, an appropriate road sign for a cemetery entrance.

Harbor View Cemetery

Up next: Old Sixth Street Wooden Bridge

11 comments:

gc said...

OES = Old English Sheepdog...I giggle every time I read this.

And interesting about the Sepulveda family and their corpses.

Ann Hughes Dean said...

A few days ago, I went to the Mausoleum with my cousin. We inspected it and cleaned it up a bit. My mother's remains are to be placed into Rudecinda's Mausoleum in a few more days. Most everyone inside is named, as should be. But two urns are unmarked. Go figure!

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks for the comment, Ann. It's now been years since I've been there. I hope it's a peaceful resting place for your mom.

PhilipAlanPhoto said...

Firstly, your blog rocks like no other! Secondly, I've recently visited this site and, sadly, the staircase is completely gone now from the side of the church. Thirdly, you rock!

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks, PhilipAlanPhoto. I appreciate my rocking being appreciated.

Anonymous said...

(Old) St Peter's Episcopal Church was move this morning (12:01 AM - 2:00 AM 25th Oct 2011) from Harbor View Cemetery, San Pedro Ca to Green Hills Mortuary and Memorial Chapel, Rancho Palos Verdes Ca.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks very much for the update, anonymous. Let's hope it gets the attention and care it deserves.

STW said...

I am doing a research paper on the history of the old church and I have a question I can't seem to find an answer to it. How did the church get from 9th and Mesa to the old San Pedro cemetary?

Anonymous said...

It's ashamed that historical land mark#53 San Pedro"s 1st church has been moved out of the City of san Pedro,to Rancho Palos Verdes to Green Hills Cemetery.I always thought a Historical landmark has to stay in It's own city,

Valerie Smith-Griffin said...

The church was moved due to complete lack of care. The Dept of Rec and Parks never put proper locks on it as well and the cemetery had no security measures. As the last to be married in the church in 1996, I can assure all that the move was the only correct move. Kudos to Green Hills Memorial Park for their vision and pro-active stance. Vandalism had reached the point where in time, it surely would have been torched. I can clearly recall after our wedding, a homeless man using one of the kneeling benches as firewood in the back of the church.

Anonymous said...

i visited the HarborView cemetery one of San pedro's oldest historical land marks an the 2nd oldest cemetery in the City Of Los angeles..I was appalled by the condition that the cemetery is in. Parks an Rec an the City of San Pedro an the people of San Pedro should be ashamed of allowing this precious site to go ignored.There where over 70 servicemen buried on the grounds an the flag pole didn't even have an american flag....I was told that San Pedrans are proud people of there heritage,but by the looks of there 1st cemetery I have second thoughts