Located in what was once one of the wealthiest sections of Los Angeles, this Churrigueresque church built in the shape of a cross, has one of the best Mary alters I’ve ever seen.
The church located near USC, was built in the 1920s and designed by architect Albert C. Martin. Dedicated in 1925, it was located in what was then one of the wealthiest sections of the city, on land adjacent to the Edward Doheny Mansion and Stimson House.
It was the second Roman Catholic church in Los Angeles to be consecrated.
Architect Albert C. Martin also designed L.A.’s first major Churrigueresque-style building, the Million Dollar Theater on South Broadway, in 1918. Martin was also part of the teams that designed Los Angeles landmarks City Hall (No. 150) and the May Company on Wilshire (No. 566). He was inspired by Bertram G. Goodhue’s California Building from the 1915 San Diego Exposition.
Churrigueresque (/tʃʊərrɪɡəˈrɛsk/) refers to a Spanish Baroque style of elaborate sculptural architectural ornament which emerged as a manner of stucco decoration in Spain in the late 17th century and was used up to about 1750, marked by extreme, expressive and florid decorative detailing, normally found above the entrance on the main facade of a building. The Wurster Construction Company’s E.M. Lukens reported the strength of 44-foot concrete dome was tested by hanging sand bags from “the entire circumference of the dome to the weight of thirty pounds per square foot and an additional thirty pounds per square foot over one-half the circumference.” After two days, an additional ten tons was suspended from the center with no deflection noted.
Mary did it better, sorry.
The interior ceiling decoration is by John B. Smeraldi. Smeraldi was also working on the ceilings at the Biltmore Hotel downtown while working on the church.
It has a seating capacity of 1,200. While I was there, only one of those seats were taken, a homeless person was using the pew as his bed. St Vincent de Paul afterall was the patron of charitable societies, renowned for his compassion, humility, and generosity.