Seattle's first church is dedicated on May 12, 1855.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 7/29/1999
  • Essay 1601
On May 12, 1855, Seattle's first church building, called the Little White Church because of its white paint, is dedicated. The Reverend David Blaine (1824-1900) had established the church's Methodist Episcopal congregation on December 4, 1853.

The building was 24 x 36 feet wide and could seat 150 people. It had a low square steeple tower "designed for a bell as soon as the people can afford to buy one" according to the minister's wife, Catharine Paine Blaine (1829-1908). It stood on the southeast corner of present-day 2nd Avenue and Columbia Street, on a lot donated by Carson Boren (1824-1912). The present-day First United Methodist Church, built at at 5th Avenue and Columbia Street and dedicated in 1910, is an outgrowth of the Blaines' original congregation.

Mud and Tobacco Juice

In a letter home, Catharine Blaine described the deplorable behavior of the people who came Seattle's first church service held in a church building:

"The people came in and with all the mud on their shoes, and stuck them up on the seats before them. Mothers let their children stand on the seats, the nasty tobacco chewers squirted their juice around, and the umbrellas were all set running with water right in the seats, so that by night it looked much worse than before I cleaned it. We have no sexton and cannot afford to hire one, but nobody made any move toward cleaning it again, so I went at it today ..." (Catharine Blaine).

Sources: Catharine Paine Blaine to ?, May 19, 1855, in Memoirs of Puget Sound: Early Seattle 1853-1856: The Letters of David and Catharine Blaine ed. by Richard A. Seiber (Fairfield, WA: Ye Galleon Press, 1978), 136-137.
This essay was corrected on May 29, 2007

Related Topics:   Buildings | Religion

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