AKA: First Church of Christ, Scientist #2, Alvarado Terrace, Los Angeles, CA; Iglesia Adventista Central, Alvarado Terrace, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: Grey, Elmer, Architect (firm); Elmer Grey (architect)

Dates: constructed 1911-1912

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1366 South Alvarado Street
Alvarado Terrace, Los Angeles, CA 90006

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Architect Elmer Grey designed at least two Christian Science churches before World War I, this one, the second constructed for this congregation in Los Angeles, and another in Palo Alto, CA, completed in 1916.

Building History

Los Angeles architect Elmer Grey (1872-1963) designed this Mediterranean Romanesque Revival/Beaux-Arts Classical Christian Science Church around 1910 and supervised its completion in 1912. The Mediterranean Revival was chosen as appropriate for use in Southern California in large part due to its mild Mediterranean climate and coastal scenery. New university campuses at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, built around the same time, both featured Mediterranean Romanesque styles. Grey designed several churches for the Christian Scientists, including the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist, Long Beach, CA (1912), and the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist, Palo Alto, CA (1916). Additionally, Grey provided designs for Sunday school rooms for the 2nd Church of Christ, Scientist, Los Angeles. The building functioned for the Christian Scientists until 1972, when it was sold to a local Jewish congregation to become a synagogue. In the mid-1970s, the People's Temple of Jim Jones used the space. After Jones, the Iglesia Adventista Central, serving the local Mexican-American population, moved in.

Building Notes

The 1st Church of Christ, Scientist, was included as a contributing building within the Alvarado Terrace National Historic District in 1984. The Disciples of Christ Church, aka the People's Temple, led by Reverend Jim Jones (1931-1978), utilized the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist, Los Angeles, CA, in the 1970s. Jones later presided over a mass-suicide of 909 of his followers at Jonestown, Guyana, on 11/18/1978. Jones began what he first called his "Community Unity Church" in Indianapolis, IN, in 1954, but was forced to move to sparsely populated Ukiah, CA, by 1965 due to his firmly-held integrationist and "apostolic socialist" attitudes. Imbued by Marxist rhetoric, Jones founded his church to undermine faith in Christian churches. He criticized large capitalist enterprises, espoused racially harmony and participated in many social services, particularly in African-American communities. He operated first in Ukiah and, later, with the growth of the group, developed branches in Santa Rosa, CA, Sacramento, CA, Bakersfield, CA, Fresno, CA, San Francisco, CA, and Los Angeles. The group created its headquarters in San Francisco in 1975; it was from here that Jones and his followers removed themselves to set up a utopian colony in Guyana.

National Register of Historic Places (May 17, 1984): 84000783 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 16548