Peoples Temple Acquisition of Church Properties in San Francisco and Los Angeles

In 1972, Peoples Temple expanded the number of churches it had from one to three. Up until that point, the Temple had conducted numerous services in both of California’s two major urban areas – San Francisco and Los Angeles – but it always did so by renting out halls or school facilities, e.g., Benjamin Franklin Junior High in San Francisco. Its headquarters and main facility remained where the Temple had moved in 1965: Redwood Valley, outside of Ukiah in northern California, about 100 miles north of the Bay Area.

That changed in September 1972 with the purchase of two additional facilities: a former Jewish synagogue on Geary Boulevard in the Fillmore District of San Francisco, and the First Church of Christ, Scientist on South Alvarado Street in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. The purchase price for the San Francisco church was $125,000.

The attached deeds from those two acquisitions and the purchase agreement on the Geary Boulevard property are courtesy of the California Historical Society.

1859 Geary Blvd., San Francisco

Corporation Assignment of Deed of Trust to Henry Marshall Foundation (December 1971), California Historical Society, MS 3800.685.

Peoples Temple Offer to Purchase (August 1972), California Historical Society, MS 3800.686.

Individual Grant Deed from Henry Marshall Foundation to Peoples Temple (September 1972), California Historical Society, MS 3800.685.

1336 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles

Corporation Grant Deed from First Church of Christ, Scientist to Peoples Temple (September 1972), California Historical Society, MS 3800.687.

Originally posted on January 16th, 2020.

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