Then and Now | Alameda Park Community Church


In 1923, the Alameda Park Community Church was freshly built and attracting children from throughout the neighborhood. Construction of the church the year before created quite a stir and was even delayed due to a court injunction (check out this post which tells that story), but the building was eventually allowed to be sited in the triangular property near the corner of NE Regents and Mason. This view is looking north, standing at the southern tip of the triangle. Houses in the background of the 1923 photo are still there, but no longer visible due to vegetation and more recent construction (including a new wing of the church, visible on the right in the color photo). Click either photo to enlarge.

Known originally as “the bunaglow church,” the design of the building was carefully chosen to fit into a neighborhood fixated on building restrictions that prohibited everything but residential structures. Today the building is the home of the Subud Center.

Alameda Community Church: The Rest of the Story

There are always at least two sides to any story (usually a lot more), and we’ve recently found a description of the events surrounding the neighborhood opposition to the Alameda Park Community Church that sheds further light on exactly what happened around here in the fall of 1921.

Let us whet your appetite with this clip, from the April 1923 edition of The American Missionary, published by the Congregational Home Missionary Society:

To help put this in context, if you haven’t already read it, we’d recommend reading the page on the church (today’s Subud Center) which you can find by clicking here. Be sure to have a good look at the photos too.

In order to appreciate what The Rev. Allingham is about to tell us, you have to know that some in the Alameda Park neighborhood were up in arms about the construction of the church at NE 30th and Mason. Several protests were organized, a petition got up, and a fair amount of consternation resulted, including relocation of a construction site. The story hits close to home for us because the leading petitioners were the folks who lived in our house for 50 years, and the original intended construction site are the two lots immediately north of us.

Let’s catch up with The Rev. Allingham: 

The turning of the other cheek. He continues:

The reference to the children from the homes that objected to the church: that’s probably Bruce and Jean Morrison who lived here and were probably some of those kids who snuck out the back door of home to check out Sunday mornings at the Bungalow Church. Hmm. And the church seems to have served the community up into the 1950s and early 1960s. We’ll continue looking for additional stories and articles that chronicle the building’s life and times. In the meantime, with The Rev. Allingham’s words in our minds, stroll past the building at Regents and Mason and listen for the echoes of all those children.

Alameda Park Community Church Drawings Found

If you’re a long-time reader of the blog, you’ll recall our piece on the controversy about construction of the Alameda Park Community Church (click here for that page). As a reminder, in the Fall of 1920, neighbors were not happy about plans to build the church on two lots at the southwest corner of 30th Avenue and Mason. The former owners of our house—Walter and Edith Morrison—led a campaign to oppose the building, and then to relocate the planned construction one block east to the island at the corner of Mason and Regents where it was ultimately built (but not before trying unsuccessfully to kick it out of the neigborhood altogether) .

While researching recently through building permits and related documents filed on microfiche, we came across the original drawings for the building, all filed for construction at 30th Avenue and Mason. Take a look:

Detail from elevation drawings filed with construction documents for the city’s permit process. Note that the building was designed by architect Edward G. Larson, working for Redimade Building Company (which was based in Portland).

The church building, now known as the Subud Center, is still going strong and a neat place for meetings, events and large family gatherings.

We continue to keep any ear out for stories, memories and photos of this building. Have something you can share?

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