In our post earlier this week, we showed a photo from one of Billy Graham’s first crusades—Los Angeles 1949. The “canvas cathedral”—as the massive tent composed of two circus tents was known—was pitched at Washington Boulevard and Hill St. in Los Angeles, Calif. It was here that Billy Graham first gained national media exposure as an evangelist.
Originally scheduled for three weeks, the local committee urged Billy to extend the campaign. While the decision was placed with Mr. Graham, he prayed and asked God for guidance in his answer. The resolve came as a well-known local radio host was moved by Billy’s sermon and invited his listeners to join him in making a public profession of faith at the tent meeting.
The Los Angeles Crusade was extended five times for a total of eight weeks, ending on November 20, 1949. More than 350,000 people attended at least one of the 72 services held during the meetings.
“I would learn over the next few weeks that the phenomenon of that Los Angeles tent Campaign at Washington and Hill Streets would forever change the face of my ministry and my life,” said Billy Graham. “Whatever this could be called and whatever it would become, it was God’s doing.”
More than 2.5 million people attended Billy Graham’s seven Los Angeles Crusade campaigns in 1949, 1958, 1963, 1969, 1974, 1985 and 2004.