Scientologists and community leaders are celebrating the Church founded by L. Ron Hubbard with the unveiling of a plaque commemorating its historic listing
— Ms. Debra McClane, architectural historian
WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 25, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Community leaders and Scientologists gathered at the original Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, DC, for a ceremony to commemorate the site’s inscription on the National Register of Historic Places from the US Department of the Interior.
The event was a celebration, complete with the unveiling of the plaque, speeches, confetti and tours of the historic site. It took place in 1812 at 19th Street NW, Washington, DC, the original historic site of the world’s first organized Church of Scientology. This historic church building now joins two other properties of historic significance to Scientology that are recognized on the National Register of Historic Places – the L. Ron Hubbard House in Bay Head, NJ, where he wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950 and the Camelback House in Phoenix, AZ, where Mr. Hubbard later wrote the first fundamental books of Scientology and founded the Hubbard Association of Scientologists.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s stringent National Register application requires that at least one of four criteria be met for a property to be listed. According to the application, Scientology’s property satisfied two of these. First, “the property must contribute to the great patterns of American history” and second, “is associated with significant figures in America’s past.”
The application, researched and authored by architectural historian Ms. Debra McClane, addressed the first criterion, which stated: “The building at 1812 19th Street, NW, Washington, DC is eligible for inclusion in the National Registry of Historic Places in the philosophical and religious as the site of the first organized church of the Scientology religion, the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, DC. The formation of the Founding Church of Scientology is fundamental to the Scientology religion because of its effective ecclesiastical organizational structure that enabled the religion to spread rapidly throughout the world in the late twentieth century.”
Later in the application, she elaborated on the second criterion, stating, “The building is selected for the listing suitable. Hubbard has been described as one of the most important religious figures in 20th-century American religious history and was the founder of one of the few new major religions to emerge in the 20th century. Several secular studies of religion have documented his influence on American religious history. For example, in 2014 Smithsonian Magazine listed Hubbard among the 11 most important religious figures in American history, along with leaders such as Billy Graham, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, William Penn and Brigham Young.”
Speaking to the crowd during the celebration, Ms. McClane said, “I have worked with the Church and seen their intense care and high quality in the restoration of historic sites… This original Founding Church of Scientology site was previously noted for its architectural importance as a property with.” the Dupont Circle Historic District. Today we celebrate a new recognition. In order to fully grasp the meaning of this word, I would like to describe what it means.”
She continued, “For those of you who may not know, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established the National Register of Historic Places…. Inscription on the National Register is therefore an important recognition of the value of a property like this landmark as a historical resource and confirms its status as a place worth preserving and commemorating.
“This property has long held a special place in all of your hearts and now with this national recognition as a historic site – the world will know it as the birthplace of the first Church of Scientology – the original Founding Church.”
dr E. Gail Anderson Holness, a prominent Washington faith leader and pastor of Adams Inspirational African Methodist Episcopal Church, offered her thoughts in her address, saying, “Official recognition of a religious faith’s historic building helps preserve the legacy of that faith. In this case, that recognition shows where Scientology started and how far it has come.” During her presentation, she shared many common values between her Christian faith and that of Scientology.
“As a Christian pastor advocating an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I believe it is important that we become aware of the religious and non-religious lives of others in our world.”
“From the perspective of a Christian pastor, I believe that with regard to the Church of Scientology and the purpose we are here today to celebrate this auspicious occasion, it is important that we affirm one another’s spiritual beliefs and practices . It will allow us to live together and make our world a more comfortable place for everyone, and we will learn that we are more alike than different.”
The city of Washington, DC holds deep meaning for members of the Scientology religion.
Mr. Hubbard came to Washington, DC in 1923 when he was 12 years old, attended preparatory school, became an Eagle Scout, and later attended George Washington University, where he was editor of the school newspaper and an engineering student.
After World War II, L. Ron Hubbard returned to town and wrote Dianetics: The Original Thesis, the precursor to Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
He organized the original Founding Church of Scientology in 1955 at 1812 NW 19th Street and incorporated the Church on July 4, 1955. L. Ron Hubbard became its first Executive Director and forged organizational patterns for all Churches of Scientology to follow around the world.
The property at 1812 19th Street NW is also now listed locally on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites, which has been approved by the DC Historic Preservation Review Board, a government agency composed of appointed preservation professionals. The L. Ron Hubbard House is now maintained as a museum with many original artifacts from the time Mr. Hubbard worked in the building.
As the congregation of this historic original Founding Church of Scientology outgrew its location at 1812 NW 19th Street, the Church moved to larger and larger buildings in the same Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC, including a location at 1701 20th Street NW, which is now she owns Office of National Affairs.
Currently, the Founding Church of Scientology is located at 1424 16th Street NW, just seven blocks from its original historic location. It is open to the public seven days a week to perform Scientology services or simply learn more about the Church of Scientology.
For more information about the Scientology religion and its many locations around the world, visit www.scientology.org.
To learn more about other historic sites, go to https://www.lronhubbard.org/landmark-sites/.
Rev. Susan Taylor
Office of National Affairs
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