The history, legacy and bathroom of Aimee Semple McPherson

Some people come to Aimee Semple McPherson’s former home and office in Echo Park to learn more about her contributions as a religious leader and founder of Angelus Temple. Others want to explore her role as an important Los Angeles historical figure and early media celebrity. I’m here to admire her bathroom.

Upstairs in the 1922 Parsonage, which will be open to the public on Thursday, Sister Aimee’s bathroom is a sight to behold. Sunlight filtered through a stained glass window bounces off walls tiled in black and gray. Waves and clouds drawn in an Asian motif and outlined in gold flow across the walls in bands of tile. On the far wall, a narrow archway leads to a circular shower stall tiled nearly all in black. A large oval shower head, blackened with age, protrudes from high above and three additional shower jets protrude from the wall.

I’m struck by all those shower heads, a lavish amenity in the day. So is Janet Simonsen, who heads the Angelus Temple Heritage Department, which is housed in the Parsonage, where Aimee Semple lived during much of the 1920s and 1930s before moving to Silver Lake. ” To me [those shower heads] show that this place was designed for a celebrity.”

You can tour the rest of The Parsonage, 1801 Park Ave. at Lemoyne St., during a Christmas Open House Thursday, Dec. 11, from 11 am to 2 pm. Or you can take a look at more photos in the Eastsider Photo Gallery.

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