The Divine Lorraine

Episode 93

In 1892, architect Willis G. Hale began construction on a lavish apartment building on Broad Street in north Philadelphia. What began as a turn of the century residential multi family structure evolved over the last 120 years into something so much more – the Divine Lorraine.

This is the story of that evolution, lead by a man named Reverend Major Jealous Divine, better known as Father Divine. Father Divine purchased the Lorraine in the 1940s and turned it into Philadelphia’s first integrated hotel. He ran the Peace Mission Movement from this ornate behemoth of a building, and after his death his wife and followers fought off efforts by Jim Jones to take over the movement.

Research sources for this episode includer:

  • The Radical Restaurants of Father Divine, Founder of Peace Mission ( by Vince Dixon
  • Global Non-Violent Action Data Base
  • Philly History Blog – The Divine Lorraine Hotel
  • The Divine Inspiration of Jim Jones by Adam Morris
  • The Guardian: An Apocalyptic Cult, 900 Dead: Remembering the Jonestown Massacre 40 Years On by J Oliver Conroy
  • – Naked Philly; History Buff Willis G. Hale
  • Pastor Jones meets Reverend M J Divine, better known as Father Divine by Jim Jones

TwistedPhilly is researched, hosted and produced by me, Deana Marie, and available biweekly wherever you listen to podcasts.