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First Church of Christ, Scientist, Pendleton, OR

February 11, 2017

Christian Science has become a potential new source for A-A designs, perhaps because the denomination emerged just as the A-A was in full flower (and Christian Science lacked prototypes) or simply because it was Progressive (in a Teddy Roosevelt sort of way). Solon Spencer Beman designed dozens, none of which seem to qualify as potentially A-A. But Chicago-born architect Elmer Grey produced several designs for C.S. church buildings beginning in 1902. Removing to Pasadena, California for reasons of health, the remainder of his C.S. churches are on the West Coast.


I don’t know that Grey designed the Pendleton church. But its crisp geometric forms are earmarks of his work. The church is also notable for its odd site: framed by the intersection of Main and Byers, the building is pressed close to its property lines by the Umatilla River. The auditorium is at the upper right; the lower section in the foreground includes an auxiliary space that opens in it.

Looking at the group of Grey’s Christian Science churches, one is reminded of a near contemporary Claude Bragdon.

Oh, by the way, the church at the opposite end of the bridge is Pendleton’s Church of Christ, another A-A building.


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