Scientologists and community leaders celebrated the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the historic listing of the Scientology Church L. Ron Hubbard established in Washington, D.C.
Community leaders and Scientologists gathered at the original Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C., for a ceremony commemorating the listing of the site on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of Interior.
The event included the unveiling of the commemorative plaque and tours of the historic site at 1812 19th Street NW, Washington, D.C. This Church now joins two other properties of historic significance to Scientology that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Mr. Hubbard’s home in Bay Head, New Jersey, where he wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950, and his Camelback House in Phoenix, Arizona, where he authored the first basic Scientology books and founded the Hubbard Association of Scientologists.
The rigorous U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register application requires that at least one of four criteria be met for a property to be listed. This Scientology property met two of these: “the property must make a contribution to the major pattern of American history” and “is associated with significant people of the American past.”
The application, which was researched and written by architectural historian Ms. Debra McClane, addressed the criteria that were met. It states: “The building at 1812 19th Street, NW, Washington, DC, is eligible for listing in the National Registry of Historic Places in the areas of Philosophy and Religion as the site of the first organized Church of the Scientology religion, the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C. The formation of the Founding Church of Scientology is of seminal importance to the Scientology religion because it was due to its effective ecclesiastical organizational structure that the religion was able to expand rapidly throughout the world during the late twentieth century.”
Ms. McClane addressed a second criterion: “The building is eligible for listing for its historical association with Lafayette Ronald (L. Ron) Hubbard (1911-1986), who is recognized as an important leader in the twentieth century. Hubbard has been described as among the most significant religious figures in twentieth-century American religious history and was the founder of one of the few new major religions established in the twentieth century. Several secular studies on religion have documented his influence with regard to American religious history. In 2014, for example, Smithsonian magazine listed Hubbard among the top 11 most significant religious figures in American history along with such leaders as Billy Graham, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, William Penn, and Brigham Young.”
Ms. McClane told those gathered for the unveiling of the plaque, “I have worked with the Church and have seen their intense care and high quality in the restoration of historic sites….This original Founding Church of Scientology site was previously recognized for its architectural significance as a property with the Dupont Circle Historic District.”
“The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established the National Register of Historic Places…. So, being listed in the National Register is a major acknowledgment of the value of a property, like this landmark building, as a historic resource, and confirms its status as a place worthy of preservation and commemoration.
“This property has been a special place in all your hearts for a long time, and now with this National Recognition as a Historic Place, the world will know it as the birthplace of the first Church of Scientology, the original Founding Church.”
Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness, a Washington D.C. faith leader and pastor of the Adams Inspirational African Methodist Episcopal Church, offered her thoughts: “Having a religious faith’s historic building officially recognized helps to maintain the legacy of that faith. In this case, this recognition shows where Scientology started and how far it has come.”
“As a Christian pastor that represents an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, I believe it is important that we become aware of the religious and nonreligious life of others in our world.”
“I believe it is important that we affirm each other in our spiritual beliefs and practices. It will allow us to coexist and make our world a more palatable place for all and we will learn that we are more alike than we are different.”
The city of Washington, D.C., has a deep significance for members of the Scientology religion. Mr. Hubbard arrived in Washington, D.C., as a 12-year-old in 1923, attended prep school, became an Eagle Scout, and later attended
, where he was an editor of the school newspaper and an engineering student. Following World War II, Mr. Hubbard returned to the city and wrote
Dianetics: The Original Thesis
, the forerunner to
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
He established the original Founding Church of Scientology in 1955 at 1812 19th Street NW and incorporated the Church on the 4th of July 1955. Mr. Hubbard became its first Executive Director and forged organizational patterns for all the Scientology Churches to follow throughout the world.
The property is also listed locally in the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites as approved by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board, a government body comprised of appointed preservation professionals.
The L. Ron Hubbard House is now maintained as a museum with many original artifacts from the time Mr. Hubbard worked in the building.
As the congregation of that historic original Founding Church of Scientology outgrew its location at 1812 19th Street NW, the Church moved into increasingly larger buildings in the same Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C., including 1701 20th Street NW, which now serves as the Church’s National Affairs Office.
Currently, the Founding Church of Scientology is located at 1424 16th Street NW, seven blocks from its original location. It is open to the public seven days a week for Scientology services and for anyone to tour its Public Information Center to learn more about the Church of Scientology.
To find out more about other historic locations, visit