The last time Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson paid a visit to the Wadsworth Chapel on the Veterans Administration’s (VA) north campus in West LA was last April, off the heels of a record-breaking rainy season in the region.
He wasn’t very encouraged by what he saw.
“It was a mess,” said the pastor at St. Monica Church in Santa Monica. “I was allowed to go inside and look around. Pretty bad.”
But he wasn’t discouraged, either, considering all that is happening to finally rejuvenate the original “spiritual and community center” of the VA campus.
When the regal building recognizable for its late-Victorian style opened in 1900, it did so well before most of Wilshire Boulevard had even been paved, or UCLA in nearby Westwood had been founded. Many of the veterans who worshipped at the chapel were men who’d been encouraged to move West after the Civil War to seek a new beginning.