Celebrating Historic Anniversary at Iconic Location

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The Crescenta Valley’s 135th anniversary celebration will be held at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church on Sept. 21. The church has a rich history in the Crescenta Valley and its selection as the place to hold the anniversary celebration was obvious.

Although the event is sponsored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, it has community support including from the Crescenta Valley Town Council and the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley.

It was on Easter 1924 when the cornerstone was laid for the building of St. Luke’s.

“They say God works in mysterious ways. Well, if artist S. Seymour Thomas had not become ill, needing a place with healthful air, there would probably still be a St. Luke’s Episcopal Church here on the corner but it would have looked much different,” said Charly Shelton during a previous tour with the Historical Society of the CV.

S. Seymour Thomas was a well-known artist. His portrait of President Woodrow Wilson is still displayed at the White House. He and his wife were residents of La Crescenta, living in a home on Rosemont Avenue they called Cuddle Doon.

After an afternoon tea at home, the artist went to the land at the corner of what is now Rosemont and Foothill Boulevard, which was donated by Madame Louise Janvier, and began to paint. The result was a plan in the form of a painting for a stone church whose architecture was influenced heavily by the artist’s time in France.

Ever since the first rock was laid there has been a strong connection between Crescenta Valley and the “stone church.”

“St Luke’s wants to partner with existing efforts to promote the wellbeing of this community and address existing and future needs. To that extent, SLLC [St. Luke’s La Crescenta] works with other faith leaders, like the Clergy Council, government entities like the CV Town Council, the LA Sheriff Dept., LA County Board of Supervisors, Veterans of Foreign Affairs and American Legion, and civil organizations like the CV Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club,” said Antonio Gallardo, vicar at St. Luke’s.

He added the church supports several groups and organizations including the Women’s Room, the Bad Weather Shelter, Girl and Boy Scouts, Prom Plus, the Cool Group and Fire House youth center.

Gallardo has only recently taken on the position of vicar at St. Luke’s and he is getting to know the community.

“My sense in this short period of time is that CV is a community of well-intended people with the willingness to work together to address the existing needs of its members,” he said.

He added that, like other communities in the area, there will be some changes as La Crescenta moves toward another 135 years. He wonders how the community will galvanize efforts to help others.

“I am also looking forward to learning more about how the community is prepared, or preparing, to embrace the inevitable diversity of its community members,” Gallardo added.

For the celebration, the St. Luke’s community is hoping there will be time for those participating in the event to tour the stone church and discover the rich history it has to offer. 

Tickets for for the Sept. 21 event are $60 each. There is limited seating so to reserve a seat contact Jo Ann at (818) 269-3295 or Harry at (818) 464-5870.

St. Luke’s of the Mountains is located at 2563 Foothill Blvd. in La Crescenta.