Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
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Acton Community Presbyterian Church
Acton, California


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Acton Community Presbyterian Church, 32142 Crown Valley Road. Undated photo; probably around the time it was built in 1924.


Acton Community Presbyterian Church traces its roots to 1888 when the congregation organized as the unaffiliated Union Moral and Religious Association of Acton (alternately Religious and Moral). It first met April 28 of that year, under the direction of retired pastor John Robbins, and held its first real service June 17 in the Little White School, which had been built in 1881.

The first few weeks, the preacher was Rev. F.W. Pattee; the superintendent was James Robertson; and Rev. D.A. Wagner took turns ministering. In August, the Southern California Bible Society donated Bibles for Sunday school and a collection was taken up for an organ. The instrument arrived by Aug. 15, when the Mrs. Pattee (the minister's wife) and Miss Mattie Adams played it. The next month, Robbins consented to preach, and he stayed on for the next 30 years.

It wasn't unusual for a building to double as a school and church, even locally. In Newhall, members of the Presbyterian Church funded the construction of the public schoolhouse, which was used for church services until a separate church building was erected in 1891. In Acton, the separation would come 33 years later (see below).

The Acton congregation helped build the $4,000 red-brick Soledad School in 1890. It replaced the Little White School at roughly the same location. Mattie Adams was the teacher in 1890-91. The new building was designed to be half-church, half-school. It still stands today (as a private home) at the west end of Cory Avenue, just past 2nd Street. Its bell hangs above the current Acton Elementary School at 32248 Crown Valley Road.

In 1916, Robbins retired from the ministry, and the congregation decided to affiliate with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It became a member church in the former Presbytery of Los Angeles (after a 1960 reorganization, the Presbytery of San Fernando).

In 1923 the Acton church became a nonprofit corporation. That same year the church was deeded the Acton Cemetery by the last remaining member of the Deuhren family. (John F. Duehren, 1824-1892, had been Acton's first permanent resident as of about 1884.) Today, burial fees are minimal, but interments are available only for Acton residents.

The next year, in June 1924, the church moved to a brand-new building at 32142 Crown Valley Road. The land was donated by one of the church-member families. It was built from California redwood, with tongue-and-grove cedar ceilings. The pulpit was hand-carved from a solid block of oak by a member of the Wilshire Presbyterian Church.

In 1951 the Presbytery "yoked" the Acton Church with the Community Presbyterian Church of Littlerock (est. 1931), so the two churches shared a pastor until 1979 when both decided to go their own way again.

The fellowship hall, called Hedgecock Hall, came along in 1958. It was built next door to (south of) the church, from postwar surplus materials. It's named for Elder John Hedgecock, a Acton Rehab Center employee who clerked for the church until his death in the 1960s.

Today, additional church properties include a church annex and the two-acre Heritage Field at the corner of Crown Valley Road and Gillespie Street, often used by film companies.

Sources: SCVTV interview with Rev. Dr. Judith Hirsch-Fikejs, 2004 (watch it); handwritten notations on photographs; ActonPC.org; etc.

— Leon Worden 2014


AP3112: 19200 dpi jpeg from copy print.
ACTON COMMUNITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

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~1920s

ACTON: LITTLE WHITE SCHOOL & SOLEDAD SCHOOL

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Little White 1889

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Soledad 1890s

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Soledad 1890s

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