Aldersgate Lodge/Retreat Center

By Michael Edlen
Special to the Palisades News

This is the second in a series that looks at some historically significant sites around Pacific Palisades. Although not even a century old yet, the town has a rich heritage, as well as a strong tradition of local activism and protective community interest. Portions of this series will draw on Betty Lou and Randy Young’s now-classic Pacific Palisades: Where the Mountains Meet the Sea.

Many Palisadians are not aware of the existence of the Aldersgate Lodge/Retreat Center, which is located at 925 Haverford, just north of the Woman’s Club. Most of the structure was built in 1892 as a private home near downtown Los Angeles. It has a Craftsman-style interior, with a Mission Revival-style exterior.

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 and retreats, and sought a permanent location for their gatherings. They purchased the house through an estate sale in 1927 for $3,000.

In 1928, the house was cut in half and moved by trucks and mule teams to its pres- ent location on Haverford, after which the owners spent $5,600 on remodeling and decorating to provide dining, recreational and more-accommodating sleeping rooms.

The We Boys—J.O.C. Lodge was dedi- cated to the teacher of the Sunday school class at First Methodist Episcopal Church for 18 years. She was a mentor, teacher, friend and life-long inspiration to the We Boys class. 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 for Bible studies.

The J.O.C. and the We Boys would get together for parties, retreats and other events at the Lodge. Eventually, many of them intermarried and had families.

In the late 1960s, the Lodge was turned over to the United Methodist Conference Board and in the 1970s to what is now the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church. Major renovations were done in the late 1980s and the Buerge Chap- el and Meditation Garden was added on the lot adjacent to the house in the 1990s.

Aldersgate was designated as a Historic Cultural Monument by the City of Los An- geles in 2008. Today, Aldersgate continues to be a wonderful space for retreats, meetings (such as the Optimist Club every Tues- day and the Rotary Club every Thursday), weddings, memorial services and other events. It serves more than 3,000 guests each year, often functioning as a bed-and-breakfast setting for spiritual renewal, and can accommodate up to 44 people overnight.

Michael Edlen has been following the his- tory of the Palisades for decades and tracks market trends and statistics in an effort to educate his clients. He has worked with over 1,300 clients and sold more than $1.5 billion in home sales. Call (310) 230-7373 or email michael@michaeledlen.com.

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