On April 28 Denny Park Lutheran Church celebrated its 125th Anniversary. Thru the years the parish has changed its name and affiliations a few times while building four sanctuaries on four different corners. All were sited near the business district – at the expanding northern end of it.
As an example, this, the first of the congregation’s homes, was built quickly at the northeast corner of Pine and 4th on a lot that cost $2,000 in 1888 and was sold for $19,000 a dozen years later. The congregation then soon moved seven blocks north to Fifth and Wall and built again on a cheaper lot. These adept economics were typical of many congregations sitting with their churches on Seattle lots made increasingly valuable during those most booming years of the city’s growth.
Named the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church by its 16 founding members in 1888, services were first held nearby in the Swedish Lutheran Church and when ready in the basement of this their own first sanctuary. To build such a stately tower must have required the charitable labor of at least a few skilled Scandinavian carpenters. By 1890 there were twenty churches within six blocks of these Lutherans at 4th and Pine, and seven of these twenty were identified by their attachment to Sweden, Norway, and/or Denmark. And the Scandinavian migration to Puget Sound picked-up in the 1890s when thousands more moved here, for nearly everything was like the old country: the fish, the trees, the dirt, the snow-capped peaks but without a state religion.
Leaving this southeast slope of Denny Hill in 1904, the new parish – with less tower but more pews – was still located on the doomed Denny Hill. Then five years later the second sanctuary was razed with the hill and these Lutherans were forced to build sanctuary number three. Erected at Boren and Virginia, it was the congregation’s home from 1912 to 1939 when they moved again, this time to Eighth and John. The parish then changed its name to Denny Park Lutheran Church identifying with the “green pastures” of its neighbor, the city’s oldest public park.
Anything to add, Paul? Mostly photos Jean, although we will start with another feature, one that looks east on Pine Street from near 2nd Avenue in the early 1890s. It includes our Lutherans at the northeast corner of 4th and Pine, the Methodist Protestants at the southeast corner of 3rd and Pine. The feature first appeared in Pacific on March 2, 1986, and is almost entirely about the Methodists – bless them.
METHODIST PROTESTANTS at 3rd and PINE, ca. 1892
(First appeared in Pacific, March 2, 1986)
The first two churches in Seattle were both Methodist.One was Methodist Episcopalian and the other Methodist Protestant. Long before any Methodists settled in Seattle, their denomination split over how much power to give bishops.
In 1865, when the Methodist Protestants of Seattle built their church, the primary difference between it and the earlier Methodist Episcopal sanctuary was not doctrine but color. The first church was white and the new MP sanctuary was painted brown. From then on they were known simply as the white and brown churches.
Here the “Brown Church” has lightened up, with the third “permanent” home for the congregation. The original brown colored church at the northwest corner of Second Avenue and Madison Street was replaced in 1883 with an enlarged sanctuary. Its new stone veneer skin, however, did not save it from the “Great Fire” of 1889. This is the parish that the congregation, after worshiping for a year in tents, built in 1890 at the southeast corner of Pine Street and Third Avenue.
Clark Davis became pastor in 1885. He bought the lot and built this church for about $40,000. Next door he raised a comfortable parsonage for himself, his wife Cleo and their two sons. The Gothic Revival sanctuary could seat 1,000 and often did. Clark was ambitious and in 1896, after resigning his pastorate, he went for and won the jobs of registrar at the University of Washington and secretary to its Board of Regents.
The Pine Street Regrade (1903-06) lowered this comer 10 feet and converted the church basement into its first floor. With regrades on Third Avenue and Denny Hill coming at them, the parishioners sold their comer for $100,000 and moved in 1906 to a new stone church on Capitol Hill. As soon as the Methodists moved out, the Third Avenue Theater moved in.
NEXT we will ZOOM-IN on another look up 4th Ave from about the same time as the above classic. Both are from the Webster and Stevens Collection kept at the Museum of History and Industry.
A few more photos will be added tomorrow after breakfast. For now it is “climb the stairway to nighty-bears.”