Friday, January 30, 2009

Church of the Open Door

It's not unusual for me to discover new things in the downtown area. It's like a maze down here with little nooks and crannies and paths leading to places you never thought were there. This is my most recent discovery and I've walked by it for 9 months and had no idea. It's a church. Right in the courtyard of my building. Well, ok, not a church but an homage to the original church that was on the site of 550 S. Hope Street, Los Angeles. As you can see by the picture, a black marble path with the brass inlays representing footsteps mark the path to the monument. The maintenance guy in my building polishes the brass every week, religiously. The gold plate to the right of the door closes at night and during storms which I suppose to the cynical mind sort of defeats the it's probably to keep the homeless out.

The pictures above reflect the original Open Door Church from 1915 and the homage that the high rise built in 1985 pays to it now. Apparently, there was a infamous "Jesus Saves" sign that was huge on the top of the church way back when. That sign has been relocated to the new church in Glendora. My favorite TV celeb Huell Howser did a special on this church in his "LA Downtown series". You can actually buy the episode here. I doubt it warrants such a drastic measure though.
How did the church come to move? Was it forced out by big developers? No such story here. The church had become landlocked in downtown LA with most of its parishioners now living in the 'burbs. The next generation was not coming to worship so they decided to move. Lucky they did as apparently, just after they sold the property, an earthquake occurred, and the building was condemned. It has now been demolished, and an my office tower stands where the church used to be.

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