AKA: First Congregational Church #3, Portland, OR; United Church of Christ, 1st Congregational Church, Portland, OR

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: Hefty, Henry J., Architect (firm); Henry J. Hefty Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889-1895

2 stories

view all images ( of 1 shown)

1126 SW Park Street
Portland, OR 97205-2440

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map

This was the third home of the oldest Congregationalist organization in the Pacific Northwest. The Swiss-born architect Henry J. Hefty (born 1858) produced a High Victorian Gothic Style design influenced by Boston's Old South Church (1873), designed by Charles Amos Cummings (1833–1905) and Willard T. Sears (1837-1920). The church's web site stated: "Our building is considered to be one of the few examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in the United States." (See "Building History,"Accessed 07/22/2014.) Cummings had been heavily influenced by the English theorist John Ruskin and his beliefs regarding the integrity of Gothic Architecture. Between 1851 and 1853, Ruskin wrote the three-volume work, The Stones of Venice, extolling the virtues of the Venetian Gothic. This book had a large readership in the England and the US and many of its ideas underlay theories of the later Arts and Crafts Movement.

The out-sized, 175-foot tower of the 1st Congregational Church #3 recalled the San Marco Campanile (1513, rebuilt 1902-1912) in Venice, and was, for years, the tallest building in Portland. (The San Marco Campanile became a favorite tower model for architects during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. See, for example, John Galen Howard's Sather Tower [1914] at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) or Reed and Stem's clock tower of Seattle's rail hub, the King Street Depot #2 [1906].)

Due to structural deterioration and a lack of funding to repair them, three shorter towers on the church's corners were removed in 1951. (See "Bell Tower Restoration",Accessed 07/22/2014.)

National Register of Historic Places (May 2, 1975): 75001594 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 9743