The Hollywood Christian Church, 1717 North Gramercy Place, c. 1930s-2011

c. 1930s-2011

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.

Sources:
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.

Exterior view of the Hollywood Christian Church, [s.d.]

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This entry was posted in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Then and now and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Hollywood Christian Church, 1717 North Gramercy Place, c. 1930s-2011

  1. Marlena says:

    I live directly across the street. I want to see this church utilized as a homeless shelter until other plans for it are made. If you can help please let me know.

  2. Charles A. White says:

    I am trying to reach Rev.Peggy Clark. Can you help me ASAP?

  3. Marlena says:

    Demolition started today, it will come down completely very soon.

  4. Michael F. Blake says:

    Did Peggy Clark remain with the church after she was arrested for fraud & stealing money from an elderly parishioner? Court records say she pled “no contest” & got probation, plus had to pay money back. Seems she got off a bit too easy, IMHO. Sad to see the building come down.

  5. Joan says:

    I was married in the Chapel in June, 1963. Attended it for several year before moving away. I am so sad to learn that the beautiful church is gone.

  6. Kate says:

    I was a member of Hollywood Beverly when the lawsuit against Rev. Clark came up. I don’t know the whole story but there was a bookkeeper involved who was embezzling from the church and the way I understand it, she accused Rev. Clark after the church sued her for the money she had stolen. Having known Rev, Clark for many years it would surprise me very much if the accusations against her were true. We were told she plead no contest to avoid a trial, which is actually pretty common.

  7. ashleigh says:

    I know Peggy Clark personally and was a member of this church for most of my life…she’s no thief. She and her family are some of the most generous and wonderful people I have ever known. This church holds a special place in my heart.

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