Echo Park, California
The church was founded in 1923 by Aimee Semple McPherson. She chose Los Angeles as the location of the Temple after receiving a vision of the California dream, “a little home in Los Angeles,” as she prayed beside her ill daughter, Roberta. When McPherson found the lot near Echo Lake, she paused silently and then said, “This is the place God would have us build.”
McPherson hired Brook Hawkins from Winter Construction Company, the architect of the Culver City Hotel the Grauman’s Metropolitan Theatre and the Pasadena Playhouse.
The Angelus Temple building, seating 5,300 people, was opened in Echo Park in 1923. On opening day, McPherson declared, “Today is the happiest day of my entire life. I can hardly believe that this great temple has been built for me!” She managed to raise $250,000 from wealthy followers to finance the construction. The temple is considered to be the first megachurch built in the United States, and its 125-foot-wide dome was the largest in North America. Attendance in McPherson’s day reached as much as 10,000 people.
According to church records, Angelus Temple received 40 million visitors within the first seven years. At first, McPherson preached every service, often in a dramatic scene she put together to attract audiences.
An $11 million remodel and renovation of a 3,000-seat church originally built in 1923. The building features one of the few free-spanning domes in Southern California and is on the national historic registry for the events surrounding the birth of the Foursquare Gospel church. The renovation project started in 1996 with earthquake repairs following the 1994 Northridge earthquake but evolved into a complete upgrade remodel of the building and adjacent properties. The project required careful attention-to-detail in design with research into historical accuracy to maintain many existing features of historic significance, meeting the needs of a new progressive congregation and applying new building code requirements.