First big Wilshire church no longer for sale

wilshire-chr-church-googlee.jpgThe Wilshire Christian Church, built from 1925-27 on the northeast corner of Wilshire and Normandie, has been sold. For sale signs had gone up last year. The buyer is the Oasis Christian Church, which apparently will move from its current home in the former Four Star Theatre on Willshire near La Brea Avenue, the Larchmont Chronicle says.

Wilshire Christian has some history behind it. The congregation dates back to the Los Angeles of the 1870s. By the teens the group was holding services in a bungalow at the corner, way out of town when Wilshire Boulevard was a fairly remote place. The Romanesque Revival, reinforced concrete church sits on land donated by the Chapman brothers, developers whose Chapman Tract includes the surviving Chapman Plaza on 6th Street (originally the Chapman Market) and at one time included the Chapman Park Hotel, which faced Wilshire. The hotel was located where the tall Equitable Plaza tower skyscraper rises today, on a block most notable in Los Angeles lore for being the site of the first Brown Derby cafe. The Derby had to relocate to make way for the hotel and slid one block to the east.

Robert Orr, a church member and noted architect of Protestant churches at the time, designed Wilshire Christian with a campanile along the boulevard and a distinctive rose window by the Judson Studios facing Normandie. The colorful window, reportedly copied from the Rheims cathedral in France, is "said to be best appreciated in the late afternoon when the sun‘s rays blaze through the cobalt, copper, and yellow glass and bathe the sanctuary in a jeweled light," a church brochure says. Since 1979, the Wilshire Christian Church has been designated as city of Los Angeles historical-cultural monument #209.

Photo: Google Street View

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