The First Baptist Church of Portland
SW 4th and Alder
Started construction 1861
In 1855, a church organization was formed with ten members. Rev. W. F. Boyakin was chosen pastor and Josiah Failing, deacon. This was the beginning of the First Baptist Church in Downtown Portland, today located at 909 SW 11th. Their first service was held in the newly completed County Court room in the Robinson building on the corner of Front and Salmon Streets. At 10:30 A.M. on May 6, Rev. Hezekiah Johnson preached the dedication sermon. In 1860, the first attempt to maintain a Baptist church in Portland did not prosper and only three members remained. With the hope of reviving the church, the Willamette Association appealed to the American Baptist Home Mission Society to place a missionary in the field. In response to this request Dr. Samuel Cornelius, was sent to labor in Portland, He arrived in June and in August 31st, the First Baptist Church of Portland was reorganized with 12 members and regular services were conducted in a rented hall on First Street. Dr. Cornelius was elected pastor and Josiah Failing and S. W. Williams were chosen deacons. In 1861 the church building pictured above, The First Baptist Church was started on the corner of Fourth and Alder. This Baptist Church the first in Portland, was started by the American Baptist Home Missions Society. Then in January of 1862, the First Baptist Church was dedicated as a partial completion. The basement was finished so that it could be occupied for religious services. Dr. Samuel Cornelius continued as pastor. In September of1864, Dr. Cornelius left the church. At this time the their congregation consisted of 49 members. In January of 1870, the building was completed and dedicated "to the service of God and our Lord Jesus Christ." The entire cost of the church building including improvement of the grounds was $12,500.00.
"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house off the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple." Psalms 27:4