243 E. Lime Avenue
Block No: A
Lot No: 23
Construction Year: Unknown
Architectural Style: Public/Commercial
Style Altered? No
Location Changed? No
Subdivision: Town of Monrovia
A "Card of Thanks" published in the June 11, 1887, edition of the Monrovia Planet indicates that W.N. Monroe and "others" donated Lot 23 (and Lot 24) for the construction of the First Congregational Church.The Town of Monrovia Subdivision, of which Block B was a part, was originally owned by a consortium known as the Monrovia Land and Water Company. William N. Monroe was one of the members of the consortium. The word "others" referred to in the "Card of Thanks" article may refer to the other men of the consortium: J.D. Bicknell, Edward F. Spence, James F. Crank, and J.F. Falvey. Additionally in the article, thanks is also extended to General W.A. Pile "...for surrendering his prior claim to them [the two lots]. Though not a member of the original consortium, General Pile at different times had entered into business partnerships with some of the men. This may be why General Pile felt he had a claim to the property. The article was written by C.S. Winters, the clerk for the First Congregational Church.
The first tax records (1888) shows the First Congregational Church as owning Lots 23 & 24. The taxes for this year were paid by E.B. White.
The Sanborn Map for 1907 shows a rectangular building, referred to as the Gospel Hall, placed toward the northeast section of the lot and lying primarily in Lot 24. In 1913, there is a building permit for an addition, valued at $250. The owner is listed as the Congregational Church. The 1913 map reflects this addition.
The 1927 Sanborn Map shows the church as the Foursquare Gospel Church in the same position and the same configuration as the original building. However, a large dwelling appears in Lot 23. The address for the dwelling is 243 E. Lime Ave.
The church retained ownership of the property, however, using the structure for meetings. Apparently even though Congregationalists were attending the Presbyterian church, they still had a "corps of officials" who held regular yearly meetings (Wiley 279). It is assumed that the church building was also used for other purposes. But then in 1908, , the church got into tax trouble as there was an outstanding balance of $4.00 from 1897. Penalties for non-payment brought the total to $45, and the property was sold.
The new owner, J.H. Smith, who lived in Los Angeles, began an "action of dispossession" (Wiley 279). Wiley continues: "...after much negotiation, the purchaser accepted three hundred dollars for his rights secured at a tax sale. This was paid by the church in September, 1909.
There are no tax records Lots 23 from 1901 to 1911 in the old tax books at City Hall, so it is difficult to see exactly what happened. There is an entry for 1897 giving the value of the lot as $75 and the taxes being paid by Mrs. A.T. Taylor, though the property is owned by the First Congregational Church. The records go up to 1916 and show the property continues to be owned by the First Congregational Church.
There is no definite date of demolition for the house on Lot 23. There is a 1962 city permit that refers to the structure as a duplex. This could be the original house divided up into two dwellings or a new structure completely. The same permit is for the demolition of "old house" owned by Mr. & Mrs. Everett Owen. Mr. Owen is also listed as the contractor for the demolition work.