Historic Aldersgate Retreat Center on Haverford Is Up for Sale 

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The Aldersgate Retreat Center, a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument, is up for sale.

Located on Haverford Avenue, between the Woman’s Club and Pierson Playhouse, the three-story, 8,260-sq.-ft. building has been a retreat center for decades. It is currently being subleased by Seven Arrows Elementary School.

The original structure was built in 1892 as a private home near downtown Los Angeles on Harvard Boulevard in the Wilshire District. It features a Mission Revival-style exterior and a Crafstman-style interior.

In 1927, the building was purchased for $3,000, and a year later it was cut in half and moved by trucks and a mule team to its present location in Pacific Palisades.

The We Boys – J.O.C. Lodge was dedicated to Eva Todd Burch (1866-1911), the Sunday school teacher at First Methodist Episcopal Church. A bronze plaque of dedication still hangs in the building’s library.

Over the years, the We Boys grew older and gained members until it was the largest Sunday School for young adult men in the country. Every Sunday, more than 540 young men would get together and study the Bible with Eva Todd Burch.

In the late 1960’s the Lodge was turned over to the United Methodist Conference Board of Laity and in the 1970’s to what is now the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church.

A dining room and a manager’s apartment were added to the house in the 1940s and major renovations to the bottom floor “Garden Level” were done in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Located on .67 acre of land (29,188 sq.ft.), the property for sale also includes the 600-sq.-ft.-Buerge chapel, enhanced by a Meditation Garden, that was built in 1991.

The main structure includes 12 bedrooms and large meeting rooms ideal for large group functions. The center can sleep up to 42 individuals and there’s a large functioning kitchen.

The site is designated a Historic Cultural Monument for its association with the history of the United Methodist Church, specifically the “We Boys” and “Jesus our Companion” young men’s and women’s groups. The designation places certain restrictions upon the owner as further defined in the Culture Heritage Commission report of 2008.

According to Pacific Palisades Historical Society member Shirley Haggstrom, Aldersgate is a L.A. Historic Cultural Monument #727.

“It took Betty Lou Young years, but she finally got this designation in October 2008,” Haggstrom said.

Local historian Randy Young (Betty Lou’s son) told Circling the News that “The structure has been constantly in financial jeopardy for the last 20 years. The zoning is Institutional, meaning that schools, religious groups and other nonprofits do not need a conditional use.”

According to the real estate offering, the owner will entertain a separate proposal for the furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Zoning specifies that current uses allowed in the A1 and R1 Zone are bed and breakfast in historic building, church or temple, club (private, nonprofit), educational institution, hospital, joint living and work quarters, in historic building for professional uses, research and development center, sorority/fraternity house, school, museum and accessory living quarters.

According to the listing, which is being done through San Diego realtor Kidder Mathews, “The property is being offered on the basis of an all-cash closing and the price is available upon request.”

The small chapel is located next to Aldersgate and the Meditation Garden.

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