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Sunrise Service At Easter Rock, Mt. Lowe

By Michael Patris

Imagine getting up well before dawn to get on a Pacific Electric Red Car for an Easter Sunrise Worship Service.

Sunrise Easter Service Phamphlet

This wonderful pamphlet gave the itinerary for the Easter Sunrise Services, on Sunday April 4th, 1926, it hails from the Michael Patris Collection .

According to a 1926 P.E. brochure there were special cars leaving downtown Los Angeles as early as 2:30 in the morning! There are also departure times listed as 2:45 and 3:00 that would arrive in Pasadena to pick up passengers and still get you to Easter Rock on time for church

If you were lucky enough to stay the night at Mount Lowe Tavern (formerly Alpine Tavern) don’t think you would have been able to sleep in very much longer.

The foreword of the pictured program states “Guests at Mt. Lowe Tavern and Cottages will be summoned by trumpet calls at 4:40am.”  Can you imagine being awakened by a trumpet at that hour? One would think St. Peter Himself was coming down to bring you home!

 After the awakening there was a processional march to Inspiration Point.  I don’t think even Herbert the Mule would be up at that hour.   

The chorus would begin signing at 5:40 All Darkness Flies Before Thy Face by Bach.

 At 5:45 the invocation would be performed by Reverend W. H. Cornett, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica.

 At 5:50 it was time for a little chorus of Christ, the Lord is Risen Today.

 And finally at 6:00 after another anthem the sermon would begin.  One thing is for sure they knew how to keep it short in those days.  After only ten minutes there would be another anthem, and at 6:15 a poem God of the Open Air by Van Dyke.

Postcard of Easter Rock

This is a postcard depicting Easter Rock

A closing hymn would take place at 6:20 and at 6:25 the benediction.

 Now unless the producer of the Academy Awards coordinated this show, it probably ran on time and under budget.

 The Los Angeles Oratorio Society provided the vocals with 12 of their finest.  Three each of sopranos, altos, tenors, and bass singers.

 Looking back to that Sunday, April 4, 1926, one can only imagine the thoughts and dreams of those gathered on the mountain.  Herbert the Mule could probably be heard whining in the distance.

 The good news was that because everybody dressed up all the time, after church everybody could go hiking in his or her Sunday finest.

 And whatever became of the plaque at Easter Rock?.

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Last modified: February 12, 1999

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Copyright 1999