HISTORY – Sister Aimee & Her Castle

angelusAs some of you may know, as a teenager during the early 20th century my grandmother preached in tent revivals alongside (and also babysat for) local evangelist Sister Aimee Semple McPherson, who was once – without question – the most powerful, influential, and controversial woman in all of America. Founder of the Foursquare Church, Sister Aimee opened her Angelus Temple on New Year’s Day in 1923… a giant round building facing Echo Park which no doubt many of you pass daily without thinking twice about. The building’s cost was an unheard-of 1.2 million dollars at the time (paid for through average donations of TWO CENTS!!)… leading one critic to declare that Aimee “put the cost in Pentecost.”

At the very bottom of this post is a rare video tour of Aimee’s castle home in Lake Elsinore. Directly below are a few short samples of the show-womanship of Sister Aimee in all of her sin-battling glory… so REPENT, SINNERS!
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2 Responses to “HISTORY – Sister Aimee & Her Castle”

  1. Johnny Socko says:

    THANK YOU for posting the vintage clips of Sister Aimee! As an Angeleno I’ve known about her for much of my life, but only in the ways that most of us do…from the existence of the Angelus Temple, and from stories about the “kidnapping” scandal.

    Being several generations removed from Sister Aimee’s time, I was always curious about what she was like, and now that I’ve seen these brief clips I think I can see the appeal. She does not come across as a hateful, fire-and-brimstone preacher like her contemporary, Father Coughlin. She was attractive, engaging and (based on that last clip) a very sharp dresser. That’s the recipe for success in this town!

    Wish I’d thought of looking her up on Youtube a long time ago. Pretty cool times we’re living in…

    • Patrick says:

      When she first came to Echo Park, before she built the Temple, Sister Aimee and her mother rented a small house from my mother’s uncle Ernest Knebel on Lemoyne St. up on the hill. I grew up on Lemoyne, and Aimee’s Temple was a fixture in my daily life around Echo Park in the 50′s and 60′s. My grandfather lived in the Jensen Apartments right down the street from the Temple.

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