St. Isidore Parish was established in 1921, one of three new parishes established that year in fast-growing Orange County. These three and the five existing were part of the Monterey and Los Angeles Diocese. Not having a church building, the parishioners met for services at the local Felts General Store or the Harmona Hotel, both of which were on Main Street (now Reagan Street) in Los Alamitos. Most parishioners were field hands at the local farms and ranches, or employees of the sugar beet factory. The town of 500 was culturally diverse, with people of Dutch, German, English, Portuguese, Italian, Irish, French and even some Japanese and Filipino descent. But it especially had a large population of Catholic Mexican and Belgian farm workers and these were the core of St. Isidore Parish. In 1922, the Bixby Land Company provided land to build a church. The $10 fee would be worth $132 in 2011. Mike Reagan, who owned the local water company, built that infrastructure and helped organize the parishioners to build the church which was completed in 1926. Itb was named St. Isidore after the patron Saint of laborers and farm workers. (It was originally spelled St. Isadore, but that spelling disappeared in the mid-1950s). Over the next few years, parishioners paid for beautiful stained glass windows and donated a spectacular bell, hand-carved pews, and Belgium-marble statues and altar. In the 1940s, the parish constructed the Hall, which was primarily used for Religious Education Classes, but also community events and various other classes for the Adult Education Department of North Orange County. Many parishioners fondly recall some of the many community and youth events that took place at the Church. With the development of Rossmoor and the opening of St. Hedwig in 1960, the diocese felt it made financial sense to close St. Isidore. But it was not only closed, it was gutted. The spectacular bell, hand carved pews, and Belgium-marble statues and altar were given away. The only original items left were the beautiful stained-glass windows. In 1962, Father Desmond Quinn came to St. Hedwig and recognized the affection that many Hispanic parishioners had for St. Isidore and re-opened the Church in the 70s, providing Mass in both Spanish and English. He also started the St. Isidore Family Center in The People’s Hall. When the church was reopened, a new altar was built, not of marble, but of a 70s-style wood structure. But Quinn retired, and the Orange Diocese closed St. Isidore on the last Sunday in September 1999, citing lack of Spanish-speaking priests and the costs involved to retrofit the building to meet earthquake standards. But after its closing, a group of concerned parishioners, local residents, and business leaders banded together to fight to reopen St. Isidore. After ten years of negotiation, the group Comite Del Amor (dba St. Isidore Historical Plaza), entered into a lease-purchase agreement with the Orange County Diocese. The intent is to purchase the chapel, surrounding buildings, and grounds, renew and restore them to their original splendor and designate St. Isidore Historical Plaza as a Historic Landmark and gift it to the City of Los Alamitos to be used as a community center – the Historical Heart of the City. Fundraising Goals Funds needed to restore, preserve and protect this landmark: Mortgage: $400,000 Restore/Repair/Gentrify: $200,000 Total: $600,000 Your help is greatly needed. Please consider a generous, tax-deductible donation to help save this landmark and preserve this “Historical Heart of the City” for generations to come. Donors will receive a receipt of payment for tax purposes. Donate Donate by Mail: St. Isidore Historical Plaza P.O. Box 1434 Los Alamitos, CA 90720 Phone: 562-596-9918 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Become A Member Please consider becoming a member of St Isidore Historical Plaza. Importance of Saving this Landmark Built in 1926 – Historical Landmark St. Isidore Chapel is the oldest community building in the City of Los Alamitos St. Isidore Chapel is one of the oldest buildings in Orange County. City in Need of “Historical Heart of the City” In need of a park and community center that serves as a gathering spot, a venue for celebration, education and spiritual renewal. A Part of California History St. Isidore Parish was established in 1921. Holy Family in Orange and St. Anne in Seal Beach were established the same year. There were only five Parishes established in Orange County prior to 1921, the first being San Juan Capistrano. These parishes were originally part of the Los Angeles/Monterey Diocese. People of the Community Built the Chapel There is a deep history of commitment from the descendants of the original parishioners and community members who built this church with their own hands in 1926. The land was donated by the Bixby Land Co. with a title transfer fee of $10 ($148 today).
St. Isidore Parish was established in 1921, one of three new parishes Read More...