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April 2010

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Thursday, April 29, 2010 Angelus Temple

Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles

This is Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel just down Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, at 1100 Glendale Boulevard, at Park Avenue. It was constructed under the leadership of the first real celebrity evangelist America encountered, Aimee Semple McPherson. It was dedicated on January 1, 1923 it had an original seating capacity of 5,300, and she filled it three times a day, seven days a week, in the twenties and thirties. It's a vaguely modernist domed thing with columns and not particularly distinctive, save for its size, and its history. The architect was Brook Hawkins. A 2002 renovation reduced the seating capacity to around 3,500 but otherwise it is unchanged, as it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992.

As for Aimee Semple McPherson, see Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America (Matthew Avery Sutton, Harvard University Press, 2007) and this capsule review from Bryce Christensen of Booklist:

    Sinclair Lewis thought he had taken the measure of America's most prominent female evangelist when he created the notorious Sister Sharon Falconer in his novel Elmer Gantry. Sutton thinks otherwise, discerning in McPherson a complex personality far more interesting than Lewis' fictional hypocrite. Passionately committed to ancient scripture, McPherson was savvy in the use of emerging media technologies. An advocate of Victorian social values, she transgressed traditional gender roles to perform her ministry. McPherson cultivated her celebrity by showcasing her physical beauty and weaving provocatively erotic themes into her sermons--and destroyed her status by stumbling into sexual scandal. After years as a leper, McPherson reemerged as a religious leader when she reached out to African Americans and others at the social margin. But Sutton helps readers see in McPherson more than one paradoxical woman: her Foursquare Gospel helped catalyze a fundamental cultural realignment that brought Pentecostals and Evangelicals into the American mainstream, transforming American politics in ways that continue to write today's headlines.

This is where America's Christian Right started. See this newsreel footage of the January 1923 opening it was a big deal. And rather than renting a copy of Elmer Gantry to check out Jean Simmons as Sister Sharon Falconer, see this clip of Aimee Semple McPherson speaking about sin. Aimee Semple McPherson is just as compelling, and just as pretty.

As for this building, the only thing missing is the radio tower for KFSG the church's powerful radio station, broadcasting to America. She used to tell her listeners to put their hands on their radio to be healed and to be saved. Aimee Semple McPherson died in 1944, from a drug overdose, but of course had she lived she would have been a televangelist. Ironically, KFSG is now KTLK AM 1150 progressive talk radio in Los Angeles. But the temple still stands.

Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles

The adjoining bible college out back the eastern side of the block from 1925

Bible College at Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Bible College at Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Bible College at Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles

The setting

Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles

Plaster saints off to the warehouse

Plaster Saints in Pickup Truck, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Plaster Saints in Pickup Truck, Echo Park, Los Angeles
Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles

That's not a dove. That's a pigeon.

Angelus Temple of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 1100 Glendale Boulevard at Park Avenue, Echo Park, Los Angeles

If you wish to use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me. And should you choose to download any of these images and use them invoking the "fair use" provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976, please provide credit, and, on the web, a link back to this site.

Technical Note:

These photographs were taken with a Nikon D200 the lenses used were AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or AF Nikkor 70-300 mm telephoto. The high-resolution photography here was modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0 software.

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All text and photos unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik

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