USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Storefront Churches

Storefront Churches

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Storefront Churches

Storefront Churches line the streets of Los Angeles, typically bringing Pentecostal faith to the community in buildings once occupied by small businesses. USC Sol Price School of Public Policy Professor Martin Krieger photographed about 800 storefront churches and mapped them with google maps. He wrote about this project in his book, Urban Tomographies.

An excerpt from his blog, “The Sacred in the Profane:”

When I would drive to USC from my home I would pass by storefront churches. But I did not take notice of them. But one day it finally struck me that there were so many storefront churches along the way. And once I started noticing, I could not help but running into many storefront houses of worship (not all churches) along many of the main streets of Los Angeles. Often there were several quite nearby each other. I spent more than a year photographing the facades of about 800 churches, attending some worship services and recording them, and subsequently learning about Pentecostal theology. Los Angeles is the Jerusalem of Pentecostalism, the Azusa Street Revival of the first decade of the 20th century being the cruxal moment. It turns out that these storefront houses of worship are significant of the migrations to Los Angeles from other places, racial relations, and urban transformation from a streetcar to an automobile society.

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