Seven Arrows Elementary, a private kindergarten through sixth grade school, has purchased the Aldersgate Retreat Center on Haverford in Pacific Palisades, it was announced on August 24.
The school had secured a rental agreement for the 2020-2021 school year. In December the CalPal Conference of the United Methodist Church announced that the 129-year-old building, property and chapel were for sale.
Founder & Head of School Margarita Pagliai said it was an opportunity “for Seven Arrows Elementary School to permanently own its own campus.” It currently rents on two sites on La Cruz. “Thanks to the vision and generosity of many of our community members and Board of Trustees, we are expanding our footprint in a way that will allow us to impact the learning experience of every one of our students indefinitely,” Pagliai said.
Escrow closed in late July 2021.
The school, which was founded 23 years ago, is working with a committee of historians, local architects, and community members to maintain the integrity of the architecture and preserve the history of the building.
Fiona Farrahi, Seven Arrow’s Director of Enrollment and Marketing, said the school community is looking forward to merging the school’s deep roots in service learning with the building’s long-standing focus on community service and gatherings.
“I couldn’t have envisioned a more appropriate location to begin the next chapter for Seven Arrows,” Farrahi said, noting that the towering redwood trees, green habitat, the rich history and the architecture, align with the core values of the school; responsibility, service, conservation, respect. “We realize how much responsibility comes with this acquisition and we couldn’t be more honored.”
The historic retreat center will serve as a campus for the school’s youngest students in kindergarten and 1st grade. Farrahi said that the use of multiple campuses allows Seven Arrows to continue in-person learning for all grades, while prioritizing the safety of everyone in the community.
History of Aldersgate:
In 1927, the building was purchased by two groups formed from the Sunday school classes at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. The men’s group called themselves “We Boys” and the women “J.O.C”, Jesus Our Companion.
These groups met for banquets, debates, retreats, and sought out a permanent location for their gatherings. Two members discovered the perfect house during an estate sale and purchased it for $3000. The strong lure from the Methodist Church to move to Pacific Palisades was part of their plan since Pacific Palisades was originally founded by the Methodist Church as a Chautauqua or Community of Believers for religious purposes.
Aldersgate had been built in 1892 as a private home west of downtown Los Angeles on Harvard Boulevard in the Wilshire District. The house features a Mission Revival exterior and a Craftsman interior.
In 1928 the house was cut in half and moved by truck and mule teams on a three-day trek across Los Angeles to its final destination on Haverford Avenue across from Founder’s Oak Island in Pacific Palisades on Haverford.
It became known as the “We Boys” Lodge, and was dedicated to Eva Todd Burch, a beloved Sunday School teacher of 18 years.
By the 60’s the membership dwindled, and the group decided to donate the building to the United Methodist Church. It was renamed Aldersgate. The 1940s saw an addition of a dining room and manager apartment to the house. Major renovations to the bottom floor “Garden Level ” were done in the late 1980s, along with the addition of Buerge Chapel and Meditation Garden on the lot adjacent to the retreat house. Aldersgate was designated a Historic Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles in 2008.