In the early days of the newly organized stake, the boundaries covered most of Los Angeles County including Alhambra, and Long Beach to Santa Monica. Initially the Stake had seven Wards: Ocean Park, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Pedro, Huntington Park, Boyle Heights, and Hollywood. Additionally; Alhambra, Belvedere, Garvanza and Inglewood were branches of the new Stake. Branches quickly became Wards as membership continued to grow.
In the beginning, there were three buildings built: Adams Chapel (left), dedicated in 1913 by Joseph F. Smith. This Chapel served as an important focal point of the Church for many years in Los Angeles. The prominent feature of the building was the stained-glass window “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer”.
Long Beach Branch then became a Ward in 1919, this building was located at 1202 Atlantic Ave. in Long Beach. The Cornerstone was installed for the new chapel, and by early autumn 1920 the building was completed and dedicated.
The Ocean Park Chapel (right), at Washington and Strand in Santa Monica was dedicated on September 24, 1922 by Heber J. Grant. A beautiful stained-glass window (below) features “Moroni delivering the gold plates to the prophet Joseph Smith”,—a gift from Mrs. A.W. McCune of Ogden, Utah. The Ocean Park (Santa Monica First) building is now the oldest remaining building from those early days and was renovated in the 1950s.
Los Angeles missionaries and Mission leadership have served for many years before and after the organization of the Stake--to share with those seeking truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many came to find work and a better life in California during the 1930’s.
Four years after its organization, on May 22, 1927, the Stake was divided. The new Stake was called Hollywood Stake which would only exist for thirteen years. 1940, the Hollywood Stake became a part of the Los Angeles Stake once again.
Beginning in the 1930’s and continuing to the present time, strong membership in the church in the LA Stake has become increasingly culturally diverse and continues to grow and thrive. Few members could have anticipated the remarkable growth of the Church upon that solid foundation laid by the early faithful Saints of the Los Angeles Branch, The California Mission, and Los Angeles Stake.
Loui Keeney & Ralph Boswell
Los Angeles Stake History Specialists
Excerpts from “More Faith than Fear” Chad M. Orton
1st Image: Adams Ward Chapel
2nd Image: Ocean Park Chapel
3rd Image: Ocean Park Stained Glass Window