AKA: 1st Methodist Episcopal Church #1, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Little White Church, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1855, demolished 1898

1 story, total floor area: 864 sq. ft.

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720 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98104

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Erected in 1855, this rudimentary Early Gothic Revival Style building was the first church built in Seattle. Pioneers Arthur A. (1822-1899) and Mary Ann Boren Denny (1822-1912) and Carson Boren (1824-1912) were all early members of the congregation.

Building History

Reverend David E. Blaine (1824-1900) and his wife, Catherine, established this first Methodist Episcopal congregation in 1853, soon after their 11/1853 arrival in Seattle, WA. They held their first service on 12/04/1853 in the cabin of Guthrie Latimer with five founding members--Rev. and Mrs. Blaine, Arthur and Mary Denny, and John Nagle. (See "The White Church that David Blaine Built,"Accessed 03/05/2013.) Another pioneer, Carson Boren (c. 1824-1912), provided a lot located on the southeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Columbia Street, where a small, gable-front church was erected. The group convened in the so-called "White Church," a 24 x 36 foot box, on 05/19/1855. The White Church was distinguished from a second house of worship, the "Brown Church" operated by the Methodist Protestant Church. The White Church had an airy interior, with 14-foot-high ceilings and space for 150 people. A simple design, the roof carried a parapeted steeple in which a bell called parishioners to services.

Building Notes

The church was scarred by bullets fired during the 1856 skirmishes between whites and local American Indians.


In 1887, the 1st Methodist Episcopal Church sold the lot and church to the Boston Improvement company for $30,000; this group erected the Boston Building (1888) on the site. The Boston Improvement Company, in turn, sold the church building to L.H. Griffith for reuse elsewhere, and the church was moved using animal power to 213 Cherry Street. Its orientation was changed 180 degrees, with the former front door facing the back. Between 1887-1898, the church functioned as a gambling house, saloon, and restaurant before it was razed in 03/01/1898 to clear room for John Cort's Grand Opera House (1900), a vaudeville showplace.


The White Church was torn down on 03/01/1898, and was superseded by the 1st Methodist Episcopal Church #2, built in 1887-1889, on the southeast corner of 3rd Avenue and Marion Street. In 2020, the United Way Building of King County (720 2nd Avenue) and the Dexter Horton Building (710 2nd Avenue) stood on or near this location.

PCAD id: 18356