Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Peace King Center

Formerly owned by the Mormons, this church is now the property of
the Unification Church--more commonly known as the Moonies

Once the pride of the Mormons in Washington, D.C., this stately church building at 1610 Columbia Road NW is now the property of the Unification Church (official name: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity; colloquial nickname: The Moonies) and houses the Peace King Center. Aside from a brief mention in an article in the Washington Post in 1997, I'm unable to find any additional information about the building or how/why it changed hands on the web and, the day I photographed it, it was closed.

Interestingly, etched into the marble on the side of the building are two of Mormonism's most oft-used mottos: The Glory of God is Intelligence and The House of the Lord: Holiness to the Lord. That last phrase is also seen on Mormon temples and leads me to speculate that at one time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may have intended to convert this church building into a temple. The architecture of the building bears striking likenesses to the church's second-largest religious edifice, the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 2/08


The Artful Eye said...

This architecture is very different from what we've seen before and it is reminiscent of other Mormon temples I've seen. We have a spectacular Mormon Temple here.

b.c. said...

wow amazing that the moonies are based there...very unexpected

iBlowfish said...

I don't know much about architecture of church, but I do enjoy your post today.

marley said...

That is a stunning looking building. Thanks for your visit to Cheltenham :)

D.C. Confidential said...

Andrea: I've heard the Mormon Temple in San Diego is pretty spectacular, especially at night.

BC: I know! I wasn't expecting that either. Sorta wigs me out a little, to be honest...

iblowfish: Welcome! Thank you!

Marley: Hi! Compared to the churches around it, it's definitely unique. (BTW, I think of Cheltenham every time I watch Harry Potter. What beautiful architecture in that cathedral they utilize in the movies!)

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

Architecturally speaking, your Peace King Center goes beautifully with my Boston University photo. :)

And then we have the horrors of modernism... Sigh.

D.C. Confidential said...

B.C. I forgot to mention, the Moonies are fairly influential in D.C. They own the second-largest paper in town, The Washington Times. The Times is the mostly favorite of the right.

Fénix: You're so right; this would fit in perfectly at BU! As for modernity, the irony is, I like a lot of minimalist architecture especially glass and steel, but some of that other "modern" stuff... Oy vey.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I ran across your siteby accident and can shed more light on the architecture and history of the building. I was the caretaker of the church in 1993-94. The building was built and designed by Brigham Young's son (Brigham Young was the first president of LDS after Joseph Smith's death)the building was constructed in the 1930's The marble was quarried from Utah and is known as "Birdseye" marble. The marble being very porous has deteriorated significantly because of winter weather(water penetrates the stone and freezes breaking it apart)The building was sold to the Unification Church in 1975 because the Mormons did not want to bear the expensive cost of repairs to the crumbling stone. It was the first "church style building" in the United States that the Unification Church ever owned, and the first time the Unification symbol adorned any structure. It was bought as a symbol and commemoration of the Reverend Moon's 1976 Washington Monument Rally speech. Even though the Unification church remodeled the inside. There still is significant evidence of Mormon designs and artwork in the stained glass, mosaic of Jesus over the front door and overall architecture. The building to this day still requires extensive renovation and constant upkeep because of the poor quality of the stone. The building is open to the public on a daily basis. Further info on the Mormons history of the Washington DC Ward are contained in a book and can be accessed through this link.
sincerely. Paul R Erickson:.

tommustric said...

I want to thank you for all your graphic photographs; I really enjoyed them.

I also thank for his capturing the history of this photograph.

If you have time to add zip codes to your embassy photographs' captions and to obtain photographs of the mentioned notables then that would be helpful to recall who is who in my photographs from summits that I attended as who is who. thanks

Cindy F said...

Hi! I found this thread a few days ago, while looking for info on the building so that I could have an accurate caption on a photo I took. (I sell photos-- this is going on a greeting card). I was really interested in the facts posted in this thread above by paul erickson. But I needed more confirmation than a blog post to actually publish the info. The building is not listed on the Mormon Historic Sites Registry, but I presume it's because it's now in horrible shape (both from not keeping it up and from huge bricks falling off during the earthquake. One of the current church members showed me an engraving of the architects. They are: Don C. Young, Jr, Ramm Hansen, and Harry P. Poll.
Don Carlos Young, Jr is the GRANDson of Brigham Young, and I assume Brigham had hundreds of grandchildren, since he had 57 children by 16 wives. Don's father, Joseph was the first architect in Utah to receive a formal education. He then went on to be the lead architect for the Mormon Church and to teach. He and his son went into business together in 1906. Joseph Died in 1938. For some reason, there is no date on the building! I need to return one day and explore. So still no confirmation that Brigham son was involved. Just chipping in some info. Feel free to contact me at