Built as the "Ingleside Community Church" the impressive building at Ocean Avenue and Granada Avenue was designed and constructed by Joseph A. Leonard. Leonard was the mastermind of Ingleside Terraces, and so had a vested interest in the neighborhood. The church ground-breaking occurred on September 16, 1921 and the building was meant to house all the Protestant denominations in the area (Catholic and Christian Scientist churches were already established nearby).
The church was completed in 1923 at the cost of $65,000 and hosted nine different congregations at the time, including Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians. A newspaper article noted an important decision made in the building's construction:
"When there came an occasion---through lack of funds---that Rev. Albert E. Kelly, the religious director, had to choose between gymnasium paraphernalia for the boys' gym or a pipe organ for the hall of worship, he yielded to the little fellows who will some day be big men, and they got their parallel bars, Indian clubs, dumbbells and rings."
Making young people's activities a priority was echoed at the site fifty years later, when Reverend Roland Gordon took the pastorship of the church based partly on the opportunities that same gym offered.
Today the gym is covered from floor-to-ceiling with a collage of inspirational African-American and other images, and the Ingleside Community Church has become the Ingleside Presbyterian Church. (See their Web site by clicking here.)
The 30-second movie below features 1920s newsreel footage and current shots of the church and gymnasium (now called "Fellowship Hall"). It was created as part of a 25-minute movie by the young people in our "I am OMI" digital video camp in July 2003. Your computer must have QuickTime to view the footage. You can download the QuickTime free player at this site.
This project is made possible by a grant from the CALIFORNIA COUNCIL FOR THE HUMANITIES with generous support from the San Francisco Foundation, as part of the Council's statewide California Stories Initiative. The COUNCIL is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES. For more information on the Council and the California Stories Initiative, visit www.californiastories.org.
Page launched 4 September 2003; updated 15 December 2005.