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L.A. Conservancy Tours Pico-Union

March 24, 2009 |  6:00 am
Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times
A group walks through the diverse Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles, passing ornate houses and a Gothic Revival-style church. The area was originally developed between 1880 and 1930 as a chic suburb for oil barons and others, including European and Mexican immigrants.
By Teresa Watanabe
March 22, 2009
Within the walls of Angelica Lutheran Church, a rich medley of stories traces the layers of history and ever-shifting demographics of the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles.

Sepia-hued photos show the church's founding congregation of Swedish immigrants, blond and bedecked in flapper fashion of long coats and cloche hats, as they lay the cornerstone for the imposing Gothic Revival building in 1925. Six decades later, Swedish American congregant Evelyn Price offered the first citizenship and English classes to scores of refugees escaping war in El Salvador and Guatemala, and the church housed many of them as part of the city's sanctuary movement, according to the Rev. Carlos Paiva.

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