Portland's Oldest Church Will Take Your Breath Away
If you want to experience a little slice of Portland history, this historic church is a great place to start. Located in Sellwood, the small chapel has been in use for over 150 years and remains a premier wedding location today. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this small church is both the oldest church and the first Episcopalian church in Oregon.
The church was built in 1851. The land and original structure was donated by Lot Whitcomb to become St Johns Episcopal Church. It was originally located in Milwaukie.
Whitcomb was one of the founders of Milwaukie and originally built the house on the outskirts of town. In 1862, it was moved to the center of Milwaukie.
Throughout the late 1800s many modifications were made to the church, including adding a bell that belonged to Whitcomb, a steamboat operator.
By 1948, a new church was planned in Milwaukie for the growing community, and plans had begun to demolish the now unused church by 1961.
However, city leaders banded together to raise funds to have the church moved yet again. Leaders from Milwaukie, Sellwood, and Portland raised $4300 to float the church down the Willamette River to its current location down the street from Oaks Park in Sellwood.
After the move, St. Johns Episcopal Church became Oaks Pioneer Church and the structure has continued its mission for over 50 more years.
The church has been lovingly restored over the years by local residents and professionals to bring it to its original beauty.
Today, the chapel hosts 300 weddings per year, and also holds funeral services. The money from weddings helps provide operating income for the community's neighborhood association.
Have you been to this lovely church? Perhaps combine a stroll of the grounds with a trip to the neighboring
Sellwood Riverfront Park.
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