This show consists of photos and maps  which I prepared as a slide presentation upon the completion of Santa Cruz Spirituality’s first edition, in 2006. The information in it comes from the ebook, with changes up to the final version in 2012.


A general impression of the variety of spiritualities in the Santa Cruz area, along the north end of Monterey Bay and in the mountains above, shows in the visual composition of Frontispiece.


The structure at 429 Pennsylvania Avenue is an extreme example of church buildings passed from one denomination to another in the course of time. In 1887 it was built, on Seabright Avenue, for a Baptist congregation. About two years later the building was moved a few blocks to its present location on Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1906 it became a Seventh Day Adventist church,  remaining such until 1954, when the congregation moved to a new building in the same neighborhood and the new St Stephen’s Lutheran congregation moved into it. St. Stephen’s stayed there until 1961, when it moved to its present location. From 1961 until  1969 or 1970 the church was used by the Orthodox Presbyterian congregation, which moved and yielded it to the First Church for Religious Science (later called Center for Conscious Living). In 1992 or 1993 the latter moved to a new location, and the building became a Foursquare Gospel church called the Santa Cruz Chapel, through 2003, when it was sold into private hands. In 2006, at least, it remained private.  Photos taken in 2006 show the front of the building – see Facade – the rear – see Rear  - and the interior – see Interior.


Although few church buildings approached the succession of diverse congregations of 429 Pennsylvania Avenue, the array of structures represented the successive waves of immigration into the county. Each body of immigrants had a dominant spirituality that left its mark on the county’s spiritual as well as its demographic face. Thus,


People                 Dominant spirituality

Ohlone                 Shamanism

Missionaries           Spanish Catholic

Eastern U. S.          European Christian

East Asian             Buddhist

Ellis Islanders        Latin European Catholic

Midsection U.S.        American Christian

African American       A specific Protestantism

Asians                 Hinduism and Buddhism

Hispanics              Catholic and Pentecostal


All the types of spirituality that have come to Santa Cruz fall into four types:

               Christian churches of the European forefathers

               Christian churches of American origin

               Asian spirituality

               Other spiritualities


The major bodies and the dates of their establishment in the north and in the south of Santa Cruz County follow.


               Christian churches of the European forefathers


Church                   North County   South County


Catholic                 1791           1856

Methodist                1848           1852

Baptist                  1858           1914

Presbyterian             1889*          1860

Episcopalian             1862           1868

Lutheran                 1930           1880

Orthodox                 1962              -


Illustrative photos are of:

Present Holy Cross church and former school:Holy Cross

Former Santa Cruz Methodist and Baptist churches: Methodist and Baptist

Existing Santa Cruz Episcopalian church: Episcopalian

Present Boulder Creek Methodist and former Presbyterian churches: Methodist and Presbyterian

The Last Supper (life size figures currently maintained in Santa Cruz Memorial Park): Last Supper


               Christian churches of American origin


Church                Founded  North Co. South Co.


Congregational           1648      1852      1884

Chr. Ch./Ch. of Christ   1807      1890      1859

Adventist                1844      1859      1925

Unitarian                1786      1866         -

Latter Day Saints        1830      1946      1873

Pentecostal              1906      1909      1921


Illustrative photos  are of:

Former Santa Cruz Congregational church: Congregational

Former Church of Blessed Hope (Advent Christian) in Santa Cruz: Advent Christian

Former Disciples of Christ Santa Cruz Garfield Park Tabernacle: Garfield Park Tabernacle

Former Congregational Chinese Mission in Santa Cruz: Chinese Mission

Interior of Congr. Chinese Mission: Chinese Mission interior

All Souls church in Santa Cruz: All Souls

               This Unitarian Church was built on Center Street in 1902 to replace the first Unitarian church, which had been built in 1868 on Walnut Street. Some time before 1950 the Unitarian congregation began worshipping in Hackley Hall, (see Hackley Hall) which was next door on Center Street. In 1964 the church structure became the home of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, and has remained such until the present (2010). The Unitarians continued to worship in Hackley Hall until 1971, but the hall was also used by other congregations, namely the Revelation of Truth Gospel Church from 1953 to 1959, the Spiritual Science Church from 1961 to 1971, the Pentecostal Temple from 1964 to 1971, and the Holy Grail Foundation Library from 1965 to 1971.


Peniel Mission in Santa Cruz: Peniel Mission

Former Santa Cruz Glad Tidings Tabernacle (Assemblies of God): Glad Tidings Tabernacle

Bethel Temple: Bethel Temple

               Founded in 1921, Bethel Temple in Watsonville, still in use, is the county’s oldest existing Pentecostal church.


               Asian spiritualities


Spiritual Body      North County   South County


Judaism             1869                   -

Tao-Confucian       1880s               1880s

Buddhist            1888                1905

Hindu               1935                1978

Islam               1973                2005

Baha'i              1974                1975

Sikh                1977                   -


Illustrative photos are of:

Beth-El Jewish cemetery: Beth-El cemetery

Society of Abidance in Truth (Hindu): Hindu

Tuang-Pulu-Kaba aye monastery (Burmese Buddhist): Burmese Buddhist temple

Funerary shrine at the Burmese monastery: Burmese Buddhist Funerary Shrine

Chinese funerary burner: Chinese Funerary Burner


               Other spiritualities


Group                North County   South County


Spiritualist             1850           1866

Mystery practices        1886              -

Christian Science        1897           1898

New Age/Hippie           1965*          1976


* = These groups and their dates are hard to find; the date stated here is at least documented.


Illustrative photos are of:

Former Glen Haven Spiritualist Sanatarium in Soquel: Glen Haven Sanatarium

Present “The Garden” Ancient Wisdom association in Live Oak: The Garden

Present Sacred Grove (Wiccan) store in Santa Cruz: Sacred Grove store


Holy City, a utopian community in the mountains. The first view, Holy City site, is of the site as it is now; the second, Father Riker's house, is of the house of Father Riker, the founder, as it appears now, and the third, Father Riker's garage , is a current view of Father Riker’s ornate but deteriorating garage.


Changes in religious preference over the years:


Category           1890           2000

Catholic            46%            63%

Euro. Prot.         31%            15%

Amer. Prot.         15%            12%

Near Eastern         0             10%

All others           9%            <1%


Largest Protestant groups

1890    Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian

2000    Baptist, Latter Day Saints, Pentecostals



Finally, a set of maps shows the spread of spiritual associations in Santa Cruz County from early times to the present, as follows:

Ohlone Peoples in 1750. Each dot represents a people with its own customs, etc: 1750

Places of prayer in 1850: 1850

Places of prayer in 1920: 1920

Places of prayer in 2010: 2010

Educational and social institutions embodying a spirituality in 2010: 2010 institutions


Thanks to the University of California Santa Cruz Library Special Collections and to Rick Homer for the photos which I did not myself take.


                                                                                                                                                                                                   Paul Tutwiler 2013