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First Chapel Built in Los Angeles

Buildings reflect the people who build them! They are a visual statement of the time. This first building constructed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the “Los Angeles Branch Chapel” later known as the Adams Ward Chapel, at 153 West Adams, designed by Robert M. Taylor. Dedicated by President Joseph F. Smith, on 4 May 1931.

The cost of the lot and the building came to $25,000, a substantial sum for the time. The chapel was large with a commodious choir loft and rear balcony. The acoustics of the building were outstanding, especially for music! The Adams (Branch) Ward Chapel was the center of activities in Southern California for many years. As well as the historic occasion on 21 January 1923 in the Adams Ward Chapel where the Stake was organized!

The central feature of the interior of the building was a large stained-glass artwork window depicting the Prophet Joseph Smith’s first vision. The cost of the window was $600, most of which was donated by Adam Patterson of Ogden, Utah. This beautiful window was removed before the demolition of the building in 1959, then carefully stored by the Ralph Rolapp Family for many years.


Today, in 2022, this window is in the Church History Museum’s permanent exhibition in Salt Lake City, Utah entitled “The Heavens are Opened”--easily seen as you walk by the theater showing the First Vision film.


(Excerpts from The Los Angeles Story, “More Faith Than Fear”, Chad M. Orton)


Loui Keeney-Los Angeles California Stake History Specialist



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