First Church of Christ Scientist Arcadia California


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Church Location:
620 South First Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91006

Phone Number:
(626) 447-2541

History of the Christian Science Church

Church History

Mrs. Emma Aldrich came to California in 1905 from Colorado and started the Christian Science church in this area. She had learned of Christian Science while in Denver when she was healed with the help of a Christian Science practitioner.

The Aldrich family moved to South Santa Anita (what we now call Arcadia) in 1908 and traveled to Third Church, Los Angeles, until late in 1913, when 2 or 3 Christian Scientists started to meet in the Aldrich home on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Duarte Road to read the Lesson Sermons together.

Soon, others began to join them and in April of 1914, a Sunday School was formed for the children. The first Sunday School was held on Easter Sunday with 12 pupils and 3 teachers. Among those attending these services were people from Sierra Madre, El Monte and Arcadia.

The attendance at church services soon became so large that accommodation at the Aldrich home was inadequate, and they began looking around for a lot to build a suitable meeting place. In August, 1914, a lot on Duarte Road was purchased for $1000. This lot was priced so low because there was a water reservoir on the property, and it was thought that it would cost about $5000 to remove it.

When an architect was hired, he presented a plan to transform the reservoir into a church rather than demolishing it. By January, 1915, the Christian Science Society of South Santa Anita was formed, and on Sunday, March 22, 1915, the first service was held in the new church. In February of 1916, Bicknell Young delivered our first lecture. By June of the next year, the building was completely paid for and dedicated.

In 1925, the Society was able to fulfill the requirements for becoming a church, and on May 9th, became First Church of Christ, Scientist, South Santa Anita with 19 charter members. In July of the same year, the church was incorporated under the laws of the State of California. 21 years later, the property on which the church was built was annexed to the City of Arcadia and, in 1946, the name changed to First Church of Christ, Scientist, Arcadia.

By 1950, the Sunday School had outgrown its space and plans were outlined for a new ediface to be built on the same property. This new church, a New England Colonial, red brick design with white wood trim was completed in August 1953. The Sunday School took over the water reservoir building. This new church was completely paid for and dedicated by December 1958.

Six years later, in 1964, plans for a new Sunday School building had been detailed and the membership had voted funds to begin construction. Then an unsolicited offer was made for the church property in exchange for property of comparable size and a sizable sum of money to assist in building a new church. The church at 812 Duarte Road was vacated in June of 1966 and, after considerable delays for rezoning, construction started at 100 West Duarte Road, in May of 1967.

Much gratitude was felt during the construction period for the availability for church services in the new Masonic Temple just down the street from the new church site, for the securing of adequate office space, and for the generosity of Clairbourn School in offering their facilities for committee and membership meetings. Easter Sunday, 1968, marked the opening of this new edifice. By March 1974, this property was free from debt and the dedication services held.

In 2000, the members voted to sell the Duarte property and purchase a new parcel to build a smaller, more intimate church edifice. An architect and contractor were found and a new design formulated. While the new facility was under construction, the church held Sunday services, Wednesday meetings, and membership meetings at Clairbourn School in San Gabriel. The first service in the new church was held on January 19, 2003. The property is free of debt and held a dedication service May 4, 2003.

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