In 1989 the First Christian Church of Long Beach purchased the building for their services. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, now holds services at 3629 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach.
Church of the Golden Rule
The cornerstone of the church had been laid September 26, 1899; in it was a time capsule which included a Bible, copies of numerous denominational publications, lists of names of officers of the official bodies in connection with the church, names of subscribers to the church fund and copies of Long Beach papers.
Services on the morning of the dedication started with an organ recital by Ada Kinman. Mozart’s “Gloria” was presented by the choir and scriptures read by Rev. Spring of Garden Grove, and Rev. F.V. Fisher of Ventura, a former pastor of the Long Beach Church. The offertory was sung by Miss Chingren, Mrs. Enderly and Mrs. Neece. The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. R.S. Cantine, pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles. He spoke of the account of the loves and the fishes, and the miraculous feeding of the multitude. His address was brief, and after its completion, a half-hour was spent in receiving subscriptions for the lifting of the church debt.
The church would remain in this location until August 1909 when a new structure was dedicated at Fifth and Pacific. At a cost of $150,000 it was hailed as the most beautiful and costly church in the city.
St. Luke’s Episcopal ChurchOn August 22, 1900, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at Fifth and Locust was dedicated. The Rev. W.E. Jacob had taken charge of the Episcopal mission in Long Beach in 1897, riding on horseback between San Pedro, Wilmington and the village here. He had been keep busy conducting mission meetings in all three places. He was still in charge of Episcopalian activities in Long Beach when the new church opened, but resigned in December 1910, when he was succeeded by Rev. Charles T. Murphy. Fifteen clergymen from various parts of Southern California attended the Wednesday morning dedication, according to the August 25, 1900 Los Angeles Times. Rev. Archdeacon True of Los Angeles led the dedication ceremonies which were followed by a luncheon.
A welcome gift came from the estate of railroad magnate Charles Crocker in 1906. Crocker, who had a major interest in the Long Beach Land and Development Company, also purchased property in Long Beach in the late 1880s. In 1901, Alice King’s mother contacted Crocker’s heirs and reminded them of the undeveloped Long Beach property and mentioned that the church would like to take over one of the lots. It seemed the property was to be sold for delinquent taxes. Unaware they even owned the land, the heirs quickly paid the taxes but told the church the property couldn’t be divided because the heirs were under age. Five years later Alice King took up her dead mothers cause and contacted them again. Though both lots had been sold a $2000 donation was given by thankful Crocker’s heirs to the church. (LAT 2/27/06)
CatholicsUp until 1900 there were fewer than 200 Catholics in Long Beach and most attended services in Wilmington. In the fall of 1902, however, it looked like Long Beach Catholics would have their own church. On October 19, 1902, a crowd estimated to be around 2000, gathered to witness the laying of the corner stone of St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church at 6th and Olive. It was Bishop George Montgomery who led the ceremony, blessing the cornerstone and filling a time capsule with copies of local newspapers, a synopsis of church history and some coins and badges.
The project was launched by a group of Roman Catholics including Mrs. J.M. Morris, Judge H.C. Dillon and Mrs. John Ena who convinced the local Catholic bishop to build a church in Long Beach. Mrs. Morris sought the assistance of real estate agent Frank Shaw who donated two acres on Quality Hill. Since this location was too far from the city, it was sold and a 100x100 foot lot on Sixth and Olive was purchased. Next to this Thomas Wall owned a 50x150 foot lot which he donated for the resident priest’s home. Mrs. Morris herself owned 56x200 feet next to Wall’s property which she also donated to the church. On June 21, 1902, it was decided that a church would be built, and at this first meeting $750 was raised. In the next few weeks $1500 more was added to the coffers and on August 23rd the plans of Los Angeles architect Munsell were accepted and L.J. Kelly appointed superintendent of construction. Like the Congregational Church, it too was in the mission style and was expected to cost around $3,500. It was dedicated on July 19, 1903.
It was built to hold about 300 parishioners with the choir loft, at the rear of the building, seating about 150. In the south end a stained glass oval window costing $200 had been donated by H.C. Dillon. At the other end of the church was a similar window, paid for by the people of the parish. By the time of dedication the church had almost been paid for. The money raised mainly by church fairs. However, everyone was so tired of church fairs that the church board had voted to do away with them. The rest of the money would be raised by individual subscriptions, alone.
The dedication service began at 10:30 a.m. on July 19, 1903. A crowd of devout worshipers had filled the structure to its limit, and from outside men climbed on carriages and peered into the windows. The high altar, with its burning candles and incense was beautiful and impressive. A solemn high mass was celebrated by Bishop Conaty from Los Angeles. Rev. Ramon Ferrer of Wilmington was assigned acting priest.
Additional property was acquired and a new building started in 1913. A parish school was later built.
Information from the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Herald. Photos courtesy Long Beach Public Library