Rockland Palace Taken Over by Followers of Father Divine

 

(Taken from The New Day, April 25, 1940 A.D.F.D., Page 51)

 

Residence Office of Father Divine, 1887 Madison Avenue, New York City, April

 

 

The Rockland Palace,
155th street and 8th Avenue, NYC

 

The House of the Lord, Autumn

The House of the Lord, Autumn

 

 

The Rockland Palace, a famous landmark, formerly known as The Manhattan Casino, 155th Street and Eighth Avenue, has passed into the control of Father Divine and His Followers, according to the terms of a lease and option of purchase placed on file to-day. The five-year lease, providing for a rental of over forty thousand dollars and extensive alterations, was executed some weeks ago but was not made public until yesterday. It passed between Thrift Holding Co. Inc., owner of the property, and Palace Mission, Inc., a religious corporation composed of Followers of Father Divine.

Announcement was made yesterday, at the office of Father Divine, that He had been invited by the trustees of the Palace Mission to officiate at the daily and nightly Meetings and Banquets to be conducted there. The invitation, it was indicated, had been accepted for any occasion when it would be convenient for Him to be Personally present.

Alterations to be made in the premises, according to the announcement, will make it possible for approximately fifteen thousand persons to hear Father Divine at one time. During the past year, Meetings have been held at the Rockland Palace on Sundays, but the crowds attending the Sunday evening Righteous government Meetings attended by Father Divine Personally, have been so great the need for more space has been very evident. Yet the Rockland Palace is the largest auditorium in the vicinity. Therefore a group of Followers set about negotiating for the adjoining building, also a part of the Rockland Palace premises, containing lodge rooms, grill room, a garage, a store, and apartments. This was obtained, and when renovated and modernized, will add greatly to the facilities. By holding Meetings daily instead of on Sundays only, and with these added facilities, it is believed that the crowds can be better accommodated.

Activities to be carried on at the premises by the Palace Mission, Inc., according to the announcement, will include activities of Father Divine Youth Groups; the operation of buses for charitable purposes, taking under-privileged children and others to homes in the country owned by Followers of Father Divine, where they can obtain accommodation for only two dollars per week; cooperation with other agencies not opposed to the teachings and program of Father Divine; a convention in the near future, of Followers of Father Divine; and various social, educational and political activities under religious supervision. It is proposed to welcome other organizations of religious, educational, social or political nature, whose aims and objects are in harmony with he Peace Mission Movement.

Located almost next door to the Polo Grounds, the new Meeting Place will be readily accessible by a variety of modes of transportation, and when the Ninth Avenue "L" is removed as anticipated, the location will be even more attractive. The announcement further stated that the upkeep of the Palace, in accord with Father Divine's teaching, will be met independently by the Palace Mission, Inc., from funds already provided for, without gifts, donations, or collections of any kind.

 

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