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History Spotlight: Phillips Chapel CME Church

September 26, 2019 2:32 PM
by Miranda Iglesias

History Spotlight: Phillips Chapel CME Church

Photo: Santa Monica Library Image Archive, 1910

The History Spotlight focuses on the landmarks, residents and stories that have shaped Santa Monica into what it is today. Content is being produced in partnership with the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Landmarks CommissionSanta Monica History Museum and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

The article below originally appeared in the Santa Monica Daily Press on September 23, 2019.


Phillips Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church

2001 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA

Built 1890’s, designated 2005.


In 1908 this former Ocean Park schoolhouse was purchased from the Santa Monica school board, relocated, and converted into the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church’s Phillips Chapel, the City’s first black church.

Named for its founding bishop, Phillips Chapel had a substantial role in the social and cultural history of Santa Monica’s African American community, partly due to the limited number of public spaces and private businesses that allowed African Americans to gather.

Its substantial 1940s remodel converted it from a Folk Victorian style building into a traditional Colonial Revival style building. The commemorative stained glass windows that were installed during the renovation include inscribed names of various church members. In 2006 Phillips Chapel celebrated its 100th year as a church community and as the first African American church in Santa Monica.

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