Christine Wetherill Stevenson

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Christine Wetherill Stevenson (1878-1922) was an heiress of the Pittsburgh Paint Company.[1] Her dream was to build her own open-air theatre and hold her own plays.

She formed an Art Alliance with Marie Rankin Clarke to raise money to buy a piece of land on Cahuenga Pass called "Daisy Dell" and together they were rehearsing for the first play Light of Asia. The Pilgrimage was a second series of play when resistance was met from Clarke and others in the group who wanted to expand the venue's themes[1] Leaving them to form the Hollywood Bowl she bought 29 acres of land on the other side of Cahuenga Pass to build a new amphitheater for her plays naming it The Pilgrimage Theatre and created the Pilgrimage Play. Today the Pilgrimage Theatre is known as the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.[2]

The Hollywood Pilgrimage Memorial Monument (HCM No. 617), a 32-foot-high steel cross, at 2580 Cahuenga Boulevard was erected in 1923 to the memory of Miss Stevenson.

Stevenson was also known as the founder of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, which is housed in the former Samuel Price Wetherill Mansion. Samuel Price Wetherill was a descendant of Samuel Wetherill, a member along with Betsy Ross of the Free Quaker Meeting House.[2] She was married twice, first to John V. Rice, Jr., whom she divorced in 1902, and then to William Yorke Stevenson, son of Cornelius and Sara Yorke Stevenson, in 1908.[3]

Time Line - Hollywood Bowl and Pilgrimage Theatre[edit]

  • 1916 - Hollywood's first outdoor theatre production takes place in nearby Beachwood Canyon.
  • 1918 - First organizational meeting leads to plans for a permanent park and art center in Hollywood; Christine Wetherill Stevenson produces the religious drama, Light of Asia, on the grounds of the Theosophical Society above Beachwood Canyon.
  • 1919 - Theatre Arts Alliance incorporated, with Christine Wetherill Stevenson as president; purchase of 59 acres in Bolton Canyon for $47,500 on which to build a community park and art center.
  • 1920 - Christine leaves the Theatre Art Alliance and purchases 29 acres of land on the other side of Cahuenga Pass to build a new amphitheater for her plays.
  • 1920 - Community Park and Art Association established, replacing Theatre Arts Alliance [4]
  • 1922 - Christine Wetherill Stevenson passes away
  • 1929 - Fire destroys Pilgrimage Theatre and theatre rebuilt


  1. ^ Jeff Favre, New work at Ford explores encounters between faiths Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine., Daily Breeze, May 27, 2005
  2. ^ Rittenhouse Square, US
  3. ^ "Stevenson-Rice". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, PA. June 4, 1908. p. 6.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-04. Retrieved 2015-07-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  • ^ "Pilgrimage Play". Los Angeles A to Z (1 ed.). 1997. by Leonard Pitt and Dale Pitt, published by the University of California Press, Los Angeles.
  • ^ A LA Times article posted in the John Anson Ford Theater.

External links[edit]