Prolific Los Angeles Modernist Rudolph Schindler designed dozens of timeless duplexes, apartments, houses, and office buildings, but he only ever designed one church. Bethlehem Baptist Church in Central-Alameda was built in 1944 for a small, black church congregation. Now, just after a much-needed restoration to what was for many years a pretty rough-looking building, the architecturally significant church—an official Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark—is up for sale.
Hopefully the new owner will be more careful with the property than the old one has been. Bethlehem Baptist sold the church in 1975 and the liturgical building spent the last 40 years or so falling further and further into graffitied disrepair. By 2009, when it was given landmark status, it was definitely showing its age (and meanwhile its owner was MIA). After the designation was conferred, repairs and restoration began and by 2014 a team of architects and designers were working to save the space.
Around this time last year, Curbed got a peek inside the church, which was in the midst of a revamp and preparing to welcome a new congregation, Faith Build International, originally based in Watts. The church, which was designed to include classrooms and a patio, also has "a three-dimensional cross rising above the building's entrance and repeated in the skylight just below, [that] speaks to the possibilities and hope for the future." It's listed for $1.85 million.
· Bethlehem Baptist Church, 1944 [Crosby Doe]
· Touring Rudolph Schindler's Miraculously Restored Bethlehem Baptist Church in South LA [Curbed LA]
· Get Inside Schindler's Only Church, Newly Back From the Dead [Curbed LA]