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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Wanderer Chapel on the move to become a National Historic Landmark

The Wayfarers Chapel, a 70-year-old wood-and-glass church designed by the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, may soon be found in the company of other Southern California greats like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Bowl.

Earlier this month Rancho Palos Verdes Church was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the National Historic Landmarks Committee’s unanimous approval of the National Park System Advisory Board.

Enrollment was the first of a three-step process in obtaining a nomination, which would make Chappell eligible for federal conservation grants and investment tax credits.

It will now go to the full National Park System Advisory Board, which will then recommend the historic designation to the Secretary of the Interior. The Interior Secretary has the final approval.

The beauty, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. and perched high on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, will join other famous California national landmarks, such as Hearst Castle, Hotel del Coronado, and the Santa Barbara Mission, officially known as the Recognized by the US government for its historical importance.

Only two other South Bay sites in both San Pedro have National Historic Landmark designations: Ralph J. Scott, a fireboat from 1925, is located near the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, and SS Lane Victory, at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Los Cerritos Ranch House in Long Beach also houses a National Historic Landmark.

“The Wayfarers Chapel remains a mid-century modern masterpiece,” the Rev. David Brown, a chapel minister at Wayfarers, said in the virtual meeting, “and it continues to inspire new generations of visitors in unique ways that speak to the human spirit. “

Wayfarers is currently undergoing a $7.5 million restoration. Fundraising was cut because of the pandemic, Jan Seibert, president of the Swedenborgian Church of North America, said at a meeting on Thursday, May 12.

Wayfarers is part of the Swedenborgian Church.

“Designation as a National Historic Landmark,” Siebert said, “will significantly aid us in our fundraising efforts and our efforts to preserve Wayfarers in the future.”

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son – usually called Lloyd Wright to distinguish it from his father – the concept of Wayfarers was the brainchild of Elizabeth Schellenberg, a member of the Church of Sweden, who conceptualized building a church on Palos. came with. The Verdes Peninsula in the 1920s. More than 3 acres of land was donated by Narcissa Cox Vanderlip to build the church.

Its cornerstone was dedicated in July 1949 and the chapel was dedicated by Rev. Leonard Tafel on May 13, 1951.

Philosopher, scientist and church reformer Emanuel Swedenborg started the church bearing his surname in the mid-18th century. Followers founded a small church in London which later made its way to America.

Lloyd Wright’s design is made of wood and the sides and roof are of glass. Wright’s vision “came from the great cathedral of the Redwoods of Northern California,” said Evan St. Charles, a senior associate at the Architectural Resources Group, which helped with the chapel’s historic application.

“The chapel is an extraordinary and unique example of a more modern organic religious complex,” St. Charles said at last week’s meeting.

St Charles said, “Wright developed a design for the chapel based on the Swedenborgian concept of the natural church, which he believed was embodied through a forest grove.” “Wright combined locally sourced materials with modern construction techniques to create a design uniquely suited to the mild climate of the Southern California region.”

Before the pandemic, the church hosted 850 weddings annually, with an average of 450 to 600 annually. The site has been used for music videos, and television and film shootings, in addition to thousands of weddings, including for Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson.

World Nation News Desk
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