Place

Forsythe Memorial School for Girls

three story building with steps leading to the second story front entrance
Forsythe Memorial School for Girls

Photograph by Amanda Yoder, courtesy of California State Historic Preservation Office

Quick Facts

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2015, the Forsythe Memorial School for Girls was originally founded in 1884 and run by the Women’s Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church. The purpose of the organization was to provide schools for the church’s missions in the southwestern United States. This building was constructed in 1914. The Forsythe Memorial School is a rare, surviving representation of Americanization attempts made by Protestant denominations to homogenize Mexican American culture in Los Angeles, California. 

The Mexican girls in attendance were primarily from the Southern California area. Described at the time as an “Americanization Plant” by the Home Missions Council, the girls came from different socioeconomic and religious backgrounds. Some girls had a Catholic upbringing while others already had a Protestant background; while some came from wealthier households, many were orphans and their only home was the Forsythe School dormitories. The curriculum at Forsythe Memorial School for Girls had a heavy focus on domestic duties such as sewing and cooking, as well as patriotism and religion, including church services each Sunday. On average, there were around 90 students at any given time, and many of the girls attended on scholarship. The Forsythe Memorial School operated until 1934, after which the property was occupied by the Hebron Community Center, another Presbyterian organization.

Last updated: December 20, 2021