Building Oregon

Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church (Portland, Oregon)

Title
Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church (Portland, Oregon)
LC Subject
Architecture, American Architecture
Alternative
Central Methodist Episcopal Church (Portland, Oregon)
Creator
Martin, Richard H., Jr.
Author
Burrell, Raymond, III
Photographer
Painter, Diana J.
Creator Display
Richard H. Martin, Jr. (architect, 1858-1950)
Description
The 1909 church in the Albina neighborhood, on Portland’s east side, was purchased by the congregation in 1951 and remodeled to its current appearance in 1958. The congregation was established in 1944 in a housing development for war-time workers employed in the nearby shipyards. After the war, the church moved to the Albina neighborhood of Portland, where African Americans were forced to live in this era due to discriminatory housing practices. The congregation grew rapidly under the leadership of Reverend O.B. Williams and by the early 1950s needed more space. They engaged architect Hubert Athling Williams, who renovated the Gothic Revival church, giving it the modern appearance it has today. In their nearly 50-year tenure at the helm of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, Reverend Williams and his wife Willia offered not only spiritual leadership to the congregation, but also provided education, social services and a real community center. Additionally, the church encouraged civic and social engagement, which was enhanced by Williams’ extensive social and political connections. The church became central to the civil rights movement, as it played out locally, regionally, and nationally, with lectures and rallies by civil rights leaders and activists such as the national president of the NAACP, Roy Wilkins, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1968 the church hosted the Portland’s memorial service for the slain Martin Luther King, Jr., which was attended by Senator Mark Hatfield, Governor Tom McCall, Portland mayor Terry Schrunk, a host of municipal dignitaries, and a crowd of over 1,500 persons. The church’s congregation, which was locally based historically, has been impacted by urban renewal, institutional expansion, and now gentrification. Nonetheless, the institution continues in a leadership position in the African American community. Today the building is one of the few remaining historic structures in Albina that is directly associated with the Civil Rights movement. This image is included in Building Oregon: Architecture of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, a digital collection which provides documentation about the architectural heritage of the Pacific Northwest. National Register of Historic Places (Listed, 2016)
View
National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. Prepared by Raymond Burrell III. 2016.
Temporal
1900-1909
Work Type
architecture (object genre) built works
Latitude
45.5456490
Longitude
-122.6677530
Location
Eugene >> Lane County >> Oregon >> Pacific Northwest Oregon >> Pacific Northwest Portland >> Multnomah County >> Oregon >> Pacific Northwest
Street Address
3138 North Vancouver Avenue
Date
1909
Identifier
OR_MultnomahCo_VancouverAvenueFirstBaptistChurch.pdf
Rights
Educational Use Permitted
Rights Holder
The image is provided here by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office and the University of Oregon Libraries to facilitate scholarship, research, and teaching. For other uses, contact the State Historic Preservation Office. Please credit photographer and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office when using this image.
Source
Oregon Historic Sites Database, http://heritagedata.prd.state.or.us/historic/
Type
Image
Format
application/pdf
Set
Building Oregon
Primary Set
Building Oregon
Institution
University of Oregon
Note
This image is included in Building Oregon: Architecture of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, a digital collection which provides documentation about the architectural heritage of the Pacific Northwest.