City Paper is not for tourists
In the pantheon of D.C. area weird religious places to go and gawk, you’ve got the George Washington Masonic Memorial, the Oz-like LDS Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center and now L. Ron Hubbard‘s house.
A bold, swanky sign went up less than a week ago in front of 1812 19th Street NW in Dupont, site of the “founding church” of Scientology that Hubbard set up in 1955. The house belonged to the church until the mid-’70s, when it was sold and reverted to a residence. It was repurchased by the Church of Scientology three years ago, according to acting director of the L. Ron Hubbard House and chairman of the Friends of L. Ron Hubbard, Bill Runyon. It took about a year to restore the house to L. Ron’s use of it in 1957, which is around when he performed the first Scientology marriage there and a few years before the FBI raided it, seeking clues about suspected ties to Communism. And now you can, by appointment, “walk through the Hubbard Communications Office, past the desk where Ron’s personal secretary typed his policies and technical bulletins and transcribed his recorded lectures.”
It sounds scintillating, doesn’t it? Tours have been offered for a few months now, but there was only a small temporary sign announcing their arrival until Runyon and friends convinced the city and the ANC to approve the new sign. Hubbard, who was a teenager on the streets of D.C., tearing it up as a young Eagle Scout, is a fascinating figure whose history has long been up for debate. Check out his Wiki. Can’t make time for the tour? Stay tuned. I’m going on Friday. It’s part of my passive-aggressive attempts to figure out my only brother, who envisions himself the L. Ron for a new age. Be afraid, folks. I know I am.