Not long ago, the Los Alamitos Museum Association decided to put to use a dormant section of the City’s municipal code that allowed for dedication of historic sites.
The Association’s own building, housing the museum, was an obvious choice.
Another obvious choice was the chapel and grounds of the former parish of St. Isidore, closed by the Diocese of Orange in 1999.
Thus an unveiling today of a dedication plaque at St. Isidore Historical Plaza is a result of the efforts of the Los Alamitos Museum Association to recognize historic sites within the City’s boundaries.
On hand to record the event was John Underwood of Los Alamitos TV.
Bruce Murphy, newly installed president of St. Isidore Historical Plaza, helped Marilynn Poe, a founding member of the Board of St. Isidore Historical Plaza, unveiled the new plaque. Facing Reagan St., it contains text of a brief history of St. Isidore Historical Plaza from its founding as the first Roman Catholic parish in Los Alamitos through its current use as a non-denominational community center for charitable groups, after-school tutoring, entertainment, meetings, conferences, weddings and celebrations.
Following the unveiling, everyone retired to the Plaza Hall for light refreshments and conversation.
Brief background of St. Isidore Historical Plaza
The parish was named about the Catholic patron saint of laborers and farm workers because it served those who worked in the fields surrounding the sugar beet factories that provided the economic base of the community in the early part of the Twentieth Century.
The name of St. Isidore has been retained in order to sustain continuity with the site’s history and its faithful parishioners, who form a strong part of the core of dedicated community members seeking to purchase, preserve and protect St. Isidore Historical Plaza for the enrichment of the Los Alamitos community.
The property is still owned by the Diocese of Orange. The St. Isidore Historical Plaza organization is working under a two-year deadline to raise funds to purchase the property from the Diocese.
Membership in the organization costs as little as $50, and is tax deductible. (501(c)3 EIN #33-0865721)
Membership benefits include:
- discounts to all ticketed events;
- discount on plaza and hall rental;
- news of programs and activities; and
- invitation to member-only events.
Members also enjoy a 15% discount throughout 2012 at these local merchants:
- Charlie’s Barber Shop, 3255 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos
- Daphne’s Greek Café, 124201 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach
- Deux Amies I, 10664 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos
- Green Street Interiors, 10660 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos (in-store merchandise only)
- Katella Cleaners, 3624 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos
- Nick’s Deli II, 10900 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos
- Preveza Mediterranean Kouzina, 10931 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos
- Standing Ovation Flower Gallery, 10582 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos
- Volcano Burgers, 3652 Cerritos Ave., Los Alamitos
- Wyle A-Way Barber, 11310 Los Alamitos Blvd., Los Alamitos
St. Isidore Historical Plaza is located at 10961 Reagan St. in Los Alamitos. For more information, visit www.stisidorehistoricalplaza.org or call 562-596-9918.
Text on the dedication plaque
St. Isidore Historical Plaza
The St. Isidore Catholic Parish was established in 1921. Parishioners met for services at the local Felts Market or the Harmona Hotel, whichever could accommodate them. In 1922, the parishioners asked the Bixby Land Company for a piece of land to build a Catholic Church.
In 1924, the Bixby Land Company assigned the southwest corner of Church Street and Main Street (now Katella Avenue and Reagan Street) to the Roman Catholic Bishop of Monterey and Los Angeles for the filing fee of ten ($10.00) dollars. The property was used to build the first Catholic Church in Los Alamitos. First Pastor assigned to St. Isidore was Father Miguel Santacana when it was built and opened in 1926.
The year 1933 saw much of the building destroyed in the Long Beach Earthquake. The parishioners rebuilt St. Isidore to its present Spanish revival architectural style that stands today.
The Orange Diocese closed St. Isidore in 1960 when St. Hedwig Catholic Church was opened on Los Alamitos Boulevard. In 1972, Father Quinn reopened St. Isidore and had the hall built to serve as a family center.
In May, 1999, the Orange Diocese once again closed St. Isidore with the last service being held on the last Sunday of the month, September 26, 1999.
With the closing of the church, a committee of dedicated parishioners and community members formed a non-profit organization to purchase, preserve and protect the St. Isidore site for present and future generations, renaming it the St. Isidore Historical Plaza. The site is now a community center.
The Los Alamitos Museum association on Novmeber 29, 2011, designated the chapel building at St. Isidore Historical Plaza, as the oldest remaining community building in Los Alamitos. The dedication was held on June 10, 2012.
The plaque unveiled on June 10 telling part of the story of St. Isidore Historical Plaza. Photo by C.E.H. Wiedel.