Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Church - Then and Now

A few months ago I shared my childhood home here and here. My childhood home was the parsonage we lived in when my father was a minister in Central Oregon. I promised to show you the church where he was the minister. My childhood home has been completely restored and is now a wonderful vacation rental home. The church next door has also been completely restored and is also a vacation rental that would be a great place for us to have a reunion with our children and eight grandchildren.

Here is a photo taken by my mother when we lived there. You can see a bit of the parsonage where we lived on the left side of the photo.
Here was the church in winter. My dad was shoveling snow.
 And here I am peeking out the front doors of the church.
The church and the parsonage are on the National Register of Historic Places. The church was built in 1923 - the same year my parents were born. The church was historically called 'The Alliance Tabernacle'. The church is reported to be the first wooden church structure built entirely by volunteers from the congregation west of the Mississippi River. The National Register says it was a modest example of a Craftsman style church with a combination of clapboard and shingle side, one-over-one double hung windows and a small entry vestibule centered on the main facade and the roof boasted a monitor style central window down the ridge of the building. I remember all of those details so well.

Here's what it looks like today after the restoration.
It's beautiful! And there's the yellow home where I lived. There was a lot of life lived in these two buildings.
Come inside with me. When you step inside through the double front doors you enter the old 'vestibule' where I spent time before and after services as we visited with friends. That circular staircase wasn't there back in the day. The doorway on the left went into the old church nursery. There was a door on the right that led to the stairway to upstairs.
As you walked through the vestibule you walked right into the sanctuary. Oh, the memories of hours and hours spent here. These are the original floors - the same floors I walked on way back then. The upstairs has been opened up but it was closed and there were classrooms up there.  There was no hallway where the stairs are on the back wall. That was a wall at the back of the platform. There was a door on the left that went into my father's study. Rows of rather rustic wooden pews were on both sides of a central aisle.
This photo must have been taken from where the old platform was. You can see that a nice kitchen has been added for anyone who rents The Church.
A nice seating area is across from the kitchen.
Through the doorway on the right was the 'Sunday School office'. That's where the attendance records were kept and where the offerings from Sunday School and church services were counted. There were supplies and all kinds of interesting things in there. It always intrigued me when I was a kid.
The ceiling in the center of the sanctuary was at the bottom of the black beams. The rooms upstairs were a fun place for a kid to go for class. Somehow it always felt like a magical place to me. The walls of each classroom were between the sets of windows and we had to walk through one room to get to the next. There was no hallway.
The master bedroom seems to be through the door to the right - where the old Sunday School office used to be.
There was no bathroom in the church back in those days but a nice master bathroom has been added.

It's a nice addition to this corner of the building.
There is another bedroom. . .
And another bathroom on the downstairs level.
They have created a nice loft area at each end. Here's one end. . .
And the other one. The loft areas can also provide sleeping areas if needed. I'd like to spend time up here just daydreaming.
Outside, the building has been beautifully restored and some outside areas have been added. When I lived here this side of the building was a dirt hillside with bushes along the side of the building. I spent a lot of time playing in the dirt here and pretending every sort of thing a kid can imagine. There was a basement that could only be accessed from a little stairwell at the front of the church. Now it can be entered from this side. I can't wait to have a tour some day so I can see what they've done with the basement.
An outside seating area has been added on the hillside. It looks like an inviting place to spend some time.
There is another outside area with a firepit in the back of the church. This area was all dirt when I lived here. There was a flat area right behind the building and then the dirt hillside went up toward the next street above the church and the parsonage.
I was so happy to see that the church was still there and I could hardly believe how beautiful it is now. I have more memories than there is time to share - times I treasure and some times that were hard. There was magic and fun and reality and friends and family and memories to last a lifetime! Oh how I wish my mom and dad could see it now. They would be thrilled and they would have incredible memories to share, too. Someday when I am in that part of Oregon I hope to take a tour of the church and my childhood home, the parsonage. I'm sure I can tell the owners tales they have not heard before and history that's not written down.


  1. Wow! They did a wonderful job changing it into a vacation rental. It must seem funny to you to see it that way. Loved seeing the old pictures.

  2. It is, indeed, beautiful...It is always bittersweet when this kind of remodeling is done. I always wish they had kept it just as it was, only reinforcing places that needed it. Again, tho, it is very pretty

  3. goodness ..
    i love the history and the update equally!


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