Miracle Miles: A Primer on Wilshire Boulevard’s Religious Diversity

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Since the founding of the San Gabriel Mission by Franciscan friars in 1771, religion has coursed through the veins of the city. There are at least 6,000 congregations (and growing) in L.A. County, with nearly every faith represented from all points of the globe. Need proof? Check out the two-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between Hoover and Wilton. You’ll find ornate, European-inspired structures that are almost a century old alongside bland office buildings that have been reshaped into sacred spaces.

Most spots have an intriguing back story. A Korean church was a synagogue in its past life, and the First Congregational Church boasts the world’s largest church pipe organ. Duck down the side streets and you’ll find old homes that have been converted into places of worship or a former insurance company building that’s now a mosque—with a Buddhist temple catercorner to it. This map represents a dozen (out of hundreds) of congregations in this neighborhood, a small but dense grid that’s a survey of a much bigger picture.

{ 1 } St. James’ Episcopal Church (Episcopal)

{ 2 }  Los Angeles Buddhist Temple, Jingak Sect (Buddhist)

{ 3 } Wilshire Boulevard Temple (Jewish)

{ 4 } St. Basil’s (Roman Catholic)

{ 5 } L.A. Woori Community Church (Assemblies of God of Korea)

{ 6 } 9th Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science)

{ 7 } Immanuel Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian)

{ 8 } Founder’s Church of Religious Science (Science of Mind)

{ 9 } Islamic Center of Southern California (Islam)

{ 10 } Los Angeles Won Buddhist Temple (Buddhist)

{ 11 } First Unitarian Church (Unitarian Universalist)

{ 12 } First Baptist Church of Los Angeles (Baptist)

 

Photographs by Dave Lauridsen

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Comments

  1. Rabia Chaudry

    March 31, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Great piece, wish it was longer and more comprehensive! Glad to see a thriving spiritual community here!

    Reply

    1. Brie Loskota

      April 4, 2014 at 1:42 am

      Thanks so much! There’s lots more to the story of religion in LA so hopefully more soon.

      Reply