After outgrowing its previous space on Gower Street, the Hollywood Christian Church moved into its final home on Gramercy Place in 1923. Its new quarters, designed by prolific church architect Robert H. Orr, featured a majestic brick and terra cotta Greek Revival sanctuary and a separate education building located at the rear of the lot. Later renamed the Hollywood-Beverly Christian Church, the congregation amassed a large, prominent membership in the late interwar years, which famously included the family of Ronald Reagan.
Nonetheless, the church struggled through the swift decline and population turnover of its surrounding neighborhoods in the decades that followed. The congregation’s size fell from over 1,700 members in the 1950s to about 250 members in the 1980s, while its eastern Hollywood environs became one of the city’s most notorious hotbeds for crime and drug activity. Furthermore, its facilities suffered significant structural damage during the 1971 Sylmar earthquake and the 1987 Whittier earthquake, the latter of which proved to be the final straw for the sanctuary. Unable to raise the $500,000 necessary to repair the damaged auditorium, the congregation opted to demolish it the following year while retaining the former education building. Although that structure still stands today, alterations have made its exterior nearly unrecognizable from its original appearance.
1. Dart, John. “Quakes Damage Dooms Hollywood Christian Sanctuary.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Jan. 1988. p. 7.
2. “Fine church to be built.” Los Angeles Times. 27 Jan. 1923. II2.
3. “Plans finished for new church in Hollywood.” Los Angeles Times. 1 Jan. 1922. V5.
Original photo: “Exterior view of the Hollywood Christian Church, [s.d.] – chs-m21173.” California Historical Society Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/assetserver/controller/view/CHS-35240.