First Congregational Church 1918-1932 - Corvallis, OR
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 44° 33.875 W 123° 15.996
10T E 478829 N 4934618
A historical marker stands in front of a former church building.
Waymark Code: WMY8M1
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 05/10/2018
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 0

The First Congregational Church was built here in 1917 to serve a congregation that had outgrown its original 1889 building at Third and Jefferson streets. Designed by architect Roy Dobell, a former instructor at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC, now OSU), this structure is an example of neoclassical architecture popular during the American Renaissance movement.

Reverend E. T. Sherman led the effort to move the congregation from the old downtown "church district." The building committee's selection of this lot, four blocks west of the old church, was explained by the local newspaper: "With the growth of Corvallis westward, the church found the necessity of building near the center of population, and followed the people westward." On April 5, 1918, Oregon Congregationalists dedicated the new Corvallis church, built at a cost of $15,000.

The Congregationalists occupied this building until 1932, when they joined the Presbyterians to form the Federated Churches, using the existing 1909 Presbyterian Church at Monroe and Eighth streets.

In 1935, the building was purchased by J. B. Hollingsworth, a local funeral home director. He hired Portland architect and OAC graduate Rowe D. Kennedy to adapt the structure as a mortuary. Kennedy introduced a notable array of fine ornamental plaster throughout the chapel, and added living quarters in the basement.

In 1941, Hollingsworth sold the business to Raymond A DeMoss, who had been active in a variety of Corvallis businesses. DeMoss took on Ernest Britt as partner and mortician, and called the business DeMoss-Britt Funeral Home. In 1948, Donald E. Durdan joined the business, which became the Demoss-Durdan Funeral Home.

The funeral home operated here until 1979. From 1985 to 1999, the building was leased to the City of Corvallis and used for the Municipal Court, City Council and offices. Stanley and Charla Nudelman purchased the building in 2002 and renovated it for residential and office use.

There appears to be a few commercial businesses located inside this former church and funeral home. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

Historic Topic: Modern Age 1900 to date

Group Responsible for placement: Historical Society

Marker Type: City

Region: Willamette Valley

County: Benton

Web link to additional information: [Web Link]

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

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