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The Piru United Methodist Church

May 9th, 2011 | By | Category: TV Locations

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Before the Grim Cheaper and I embarked on our Heritage Valley stalking trip three weekends ago, I did some cyber-stalking of the area and came across this page on fellow stalker Gary’s Seeing Stars website which detailed the Piru United Methodist Church’s appearance in the Season 1 episode of True Blood titled “Sparks Fly Out”.  Now I have never seen even one episode of the vampire series, but while I was looking through the screen captures Gary had posted on his site, I realized that the very same church had also been featured in the Season 7 episode of Desperate Housewives titled “Farewell Letter”.  So, because I do love me some Desperate Housewives, I immediately added the place to my Piru Stalking List and dragged the GC right on over there while we were in the area.

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The Piru United Methodist Church, which was designed in the Carpenter-Gothic-style, was originally built in 1888 by David Caleb Cook, the man who founded the town of Piru.  When Cook first moved to the Santa Clara Valley in 1887, after migrating from Illinois due to health reasons, he purchased a 12,000-acre plot of land, which was then known as Rancho Temescal, and began to set up a community there.  In 1888, he built a railroad depot, a school, a fruit packing house, and the United Methodist Church.  Cook’s father had been a Methodist minister and Cook himself had made his fortune publishing religious books, so his faith was extremely important to him.   And while it does seem that the parish is still in operation today, it was sadly closed when we showed up to stalk it, so we were not able to venture inside.

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I did sure love the sign out front, though.  Winking smile

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And, amazingly enough, as you can see in the historic photograph pictured above, despite having a different steeple, the structure still looks almost exactly the same today as it did when it was first built over 123 years ago!

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Thanks to the church’s small-town, U.S.A.-feel, it is used quite regularly for filming.  In the Season 7 episode of Desperate Housewives titled “Farewell Letter”, it stood in for the supposed-Las-Colinas, Texas-area parochial school where Gabrielle Solis (aka Eva Longoria) confronted her former teacher, Sister Marta (aka Jill Larson), for not believing her when she told her she was being abused as a child.  While there, Gabrielle also gave a few high school students this sage piece of advice, “Now girls, if it were up to me, I’d say avoid math and science.  They cause serious frown lines.”  When her husband, Carlos (aka Ricardo Chavira), suggests that she is just kidding, Gabrielle says, “No!  Young girls today need to know the dangers of long division.”  LOL

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In the Season 1 episode of True Blood titled “Sparks Fly Out”, the United Methodist Church stood in for the supposed-Bon-Temps, Louisiana-area church where Bill Compton (aka Stephen Moyer) spoke to a group of Civil War enthusiasts, including Sookie Stackhouse (aka Anna Paquin) and Sam Merlotte (aka Sam Trammell), about his life as a vampire.

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The church also popped up in the 2000 comedy Space Cowboys as the supposed-Oklahoma-City-area parish where Tank Sullivan (aka James Garner) was a minister.

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In the Season 2 episode of Justified titled “The Spoil”, the church was the site of the town hall meeting during which the citizens of Harlan, Kentucky, including U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (aka Timothy Olyphant), discussed the pros and cons of allowing Black Pike Coal Company to mine in their area.

Big THANK YOU to Gary, from the Seeing Stars website, for finding this location!

Stalk It: The Piru United Methodist Church, from the “Farewell Letter”episode of Desperate Housewives, is located at 3875 Center Street in Piru.

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8 comments

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  1. jim t says:

    This Church is also in the 1971 western J.W. Coop with Cliff Robertson

  2. Niko says:

    I like the look of the church, it looks good. Butt I think is the name of the church is kinda funny because piru is finnish and it means devil. 😀

  3. Owen says:

    It’s me again. The other day I was watching an old episode of “The King of Queens” on TBS, and you’ll never guess what I saw. Well, you probably will guess, because of where I’m posting this comment. In a 2004 episode titled “Altar Ego,” Spence’s ex is getting married at “Greater Mount Morris First Presbyterian Church” in Tennessee. Spence and the “D Boys” — Doug, Deacon and Danny — take a road trip to stop the wedding. The church doubling as GMMFPC is, of course, the Piru United Methodist Church.

    In the episode, the very same four building numbers (white numbers on black rectangles) seen in your close-up shot of the main entrance are visible, yet for some strange reason the final two digits have been transposed. In “The King of Queens,” the address is 3857. Hmm… I wonder if they did this to foil attempts by filming-location stalkers to find the place. If so, they failed!

  4. Owen says:

    You can add “Man of the House” to the list of productions filmed at Piru United Methodist Church. In the 2005 film, Cedric the Entertainer plays Percy, an ex-con who preaches at PUMC. The church exterior and interior is seen in the very beginning of the film, and the interior shows up again on two more occasions, including the final scene. The church gets plenty of screen time and is, I believe, the only filming location that wasn’t in or near Austin, Texas. The movie is, after all, about a quintet of University of Texas cheerleaders who witness a murder. One of those cheerleaders is Christina Milian, who is very easy on my blue eyes. She’s the reason I’ve seen “Man of the House” more than once. Hey, don’t judge! 😉

  5. I have to agree-cute church.

  6. Lisa says:

    Love this Church!

  7. Melissa says:

    Awesome find!!! That was a good ep in True Blood.

  8. Lavonna says:

    LOVE IT! Cute church! I don’t watch True Blood, Melissa does, but I did see that episode in the church LOL


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