Sunday, November 25, 2007

No. 89 - Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church
1912 – Elmer Grey
1366 South Alvarado Street – map
Declared: 7/7/71

This Romanesque/Beaux Arts church was originally built as the home for the First Church of Christ, Scientist. For about the past thirty years, it’s been the Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Today, Ever Garcias is the senior pastor for the Central Spanish congregation, while the Reverend Moises A. Sandoval presides over the Sunday meetings of the Centro Cristiano Emanuel.

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

When architect Elmer Grey first submitted preliminary studies for the church in February of 1912, costs were planned at around $100,000. Construction began on June 10 later that year.

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

The building was designated on the same day as the previous six homes on the Historic-Cultural Monument list for their “reflecting Victorian architecture on a grand scale prevalent at the turn of the century”.

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

The most notorious part of the church’s history, though, is its life in the 1970s. At the beginning of the decade the building was converted from a synagogue to house the Disciples of Christ congregation of the People’s Temple Christian Church, run by the Reverend Jim Jones. Yes, that Jim Jones.

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Jim “It’s hard to be God” Jones set up (another) shop here, after establishing temples in San Francisco and Utah. Throughout the seventies, his popularity grew while his congregation soared to 20,000. Jones would come to Los Angeles every two weeks to preach to the nearly all black congregation here. In the summer of 1977, he moved a group of his followers to Jonestown in northern Guyana where, the following November, more than 900 of them died in the mass murder/suicide that was in all the papers back then.

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

First Church of Christ Scientist, 1915

Today, the church is surrounded by fencing to keep out vandals, the homeless, etc., but otherwise looks a lot like it did 80-odd years ago, as in this shot from 1915 above.

Special thanks to Francisco, a congregation member who, one Saturday afternoon, showed me around and filled me in on some of the building’s recent history.

Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Up next: St Vincent de Paul Church

12 comments:

Christy said...

Mr. Bariscale,

I'm a long-time lurker/first-time commenter. But I wanted to thank you for the beautiful work you do on this site.

It's greatly appreciated by those of us who love Los Angeles.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thank you very much, Christy, for the nice comment. And thanks for lurking.

Francisco said...

Mr. Bariscale,

I was nice to meet you that Sabbath afternoon and wanted to say "thank you" for doing an exelent job at postins all pictures of these great landmarks.
I enjoyed the last pictures so much I never seen it from back them. how much the area has changed!

p.s. Ever Garcias is our senior Pastor for Central Spanish Church congregation.

Reverend Moises A. Sandoval presides over Centro Cristiano Emanuel, which meets o Sundays as guests.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

No, thank you, Francisco, for the tour, information, and correction, which I (finally) got around to addressing. I hope you and the congregation have a great 2008.

Anonymous said...

This chuch building also briefly housed the LA branch of the People's Temple Church in the 1970s, led by Jim Jones- responsible for the mass-muder suicide in 1978.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bariscale,
You're doing such a beautiful job on these sites. We at Central Spanish are in the process of builting our web site and would like to use some of your photos. It'll be great to have a digital copies. Will appreciate greatly!
Luis Rodas
lrodassr@yahoo.com

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Sure thing, Luis. I'd be flattered, thanks.

Meggie said...

I've driven by this church many times and noticed the stars of David way up near the roof-- does this church have origins as a Jewish synagogue, as well?

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

I don't know exactly when, Meggie, but the building was reportedly a synagogue just prior to being bought by the People's Temple in the 1970s.

S T E P H said...

I was here on Tuesday! I thought it was a wonderful building, and I enjoyed the information you presented here. Very nice!

I was wondering if you know anything about the Walker Mansion located near Adams Blvd. and Arlington Ave.

This is all I could find:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cityprojectca/4360274859/

Sweet Romance Jewelry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Sorry, Sweet Romance Jewelry. Elmer Grey designed the structure for the First Church of Christ, Scientists, a century ago. See "Fine Church for Scientists" in the February 25, 1912, edition of The Los Angeles Times.