pioneer logo - 2.3 K
Churches of Christ & Christian Churches
in the Pacific Northwest


Spokane Co. map - 5.2 K
Expanded May 16, 2003
by Charles Dailey
College index

Cheney  |  Deep Creek  |  Greenacres  |  Latah  |  Medical Lake

Mount Hope  |  Plaza  |  Spokane Central  |  Spokane - Hillyard

Spangle  |  Westgate  |  Panorama of Cheney

Panorama of Spokane

Next Chapter . . . Pioneer Menu . . . Search - - Oldest presented first.

A very powerful church planter worked in the eastern half of Washington in the early days of the Stone-Campbell Movement in the state. Cyrus Jefferson Wright from Kansas established 13 churches with 781 members. Over 400 of these were converted to Christ by Wright, not mid-western Christians that he merely located and organized into congregations. After he had worked for a few years, Wright claimed the Disciples were more numerous than any other religious group.

Mount Hope Map

W. E. Richardson, an evangelist and schoolteacher, was responsible for organizing the church in the summer of 1877. In 1893 Mr. Richardson practiced law in Spokane in the law firm of Richardson and Gallagher and became known as Judge Richardson.

Spangle Map

The community is named for William Spangle. The town was built on his homestead.

The Spangle Christian Church believes that it started in 1882, although the legal papers were not filed with the new State of Washington for another decade. However a newspaper clipping dated in 1880 shows church planter C. J. Wright living in Spangle. The History of Spokane County also records the organization of the church as being in 1880.

There were 28 charter members and services were held in a "small school" until a building could be built. They assisted the Baptist Church in building and used theirs for a few years. Then the Baptists returned the favor when the Christian Church began building in 1888 or 1889.

The resulting separate identity of the Christian Church may have elicited the comment from A. W. Dean, "The church in Spangle has entered upon a new era in its history."

The preacher in 1887 was T. J. Cannon.

Latah Map

C. J. Wright organized 23 disciples at Latah in 1883. This community, south of Spokane on Highway 27, was platted as a town in 1886. Regular services were held at the Alpha school and then a building suitable for 200 was erected in the new town. This church and property, too, were paid for by local funds. The Sunday School met regularly, but the church did not always have preaching services.

Cheney Map

Once named Depot Springs, the name was changed to honor Benjamin P. Cheney, one of the founders of the Great Northern Railroad and an early supporter of Eastern Washington State College.

The congregation in Cheney, near Spokane, was launched by the newly arrived evangelist A. W. Dean in March of 1886. The moving force to get Dean to the northwest was Mrs. J. A. C. Merriman. She and her husband had arrived in Cheney in 1880 from Walla Walla, where they were instrumental in getting that group to meeting again.

Dean established at least four congregations in Spokane County that Spring. The Cheney congregation was launched with 16 members. The church met at first in the Baptist Church building and later built its own structure. It remained weak for many years.

The location of the property can be seen on a panorama .

The history of the Cheney Christian Church provides the following list of charter members: Grant Brown, A. W. Dean, Della L. Dean, E. E. Drake, Emma Essig, J. M. Grinstead, Ethel Harrison, Mrs. S. M. Harrison, A. M. Merriman, Mrs. J. A. C. Merriman, Mrs. Mills, R. M. Moore, Mrs. Ada Moore, Mrs. M. D. Smith, H. R. Todd and George P. Tolton.

Following the untimely death of A. W. Dean, Linus Rogers became the minister, dividing his time between Cheney and Medical Lake. A small, white building was built.
There is a profile of A. W. Dean.
Medical Lake Map

The Northwest Tribune of Colfax, Washington, reports, "The second annual camp meeting of the church in Spokane County, Washington Territory will be held this year at Medical Lake, Washington Territory Thursday, June 9th (1887).

The Tribune also reported in 1891 that First Christian Church of Medical Lake had filed articles of incorporation. Those filing were: Abraham W. Green, Elias Fiscus, Elijah L. Smith, Andrew Scholer, Alphon Vaughn, John C. Vaughn and John Tirrel.

The first located preacher at Cheney was Linus Rogers who divided his time with Medical Lake, another congregation established by A. W. Dean. Rogers walked the seven miles each week from Cheney to Medical Lake.

The building was located in the northeast corner of the intersection of Barker and Lefevre (Highway 902). By 1922 it was no longer used.

Spokane Central Map

A. W. Dean held a protracted meeting in April of 1886, establishing Central Christian Church. There were 21 members in the original group. Meetings were first held at the Congregational Church building, then in a hall over First National Bank at Front and Howard Streets, then in the Y.M.C.A. hall and the W.C.T.U. hall. The heavy schedule of preaching in four communities led to the early death of Evangelist Dean in 1888 at Medical Lake.

Samuel Brisbin Letson
S. B. Letson
In January of 1888, the Central church called Samuel Brisbin Letson as minister when the membership numbered 44. A lot was purchased at the SW corner of Post and Third Streets and a "commodious house of worship erected."

A sharp eye can see the building on the attached bird's eye view of Spokane.

An excited S. B. Letson reported to the Christian Standard in 1889:

Comparing, we find that our Sunday-school is nearly three times as large as at the beginning of the year; that in 1887 it collected $18, and in 1888 the collection amounted to $86.56, and that the proficiency and usefulness of the school has increased during the year fourfold; that the church membership a year ago was forty, now is ninety-four; that then the church had no home, now has a lot and neat, comfortable house, finished and well furnished, and worth at least $3,000. . . . For the blessing mentioned, and all others not expressed, we thank the Giver of all good.

G. W. Ross - 4.4 K
G. W. Ross
Successive preachers were George W. Ross, Dr. J. M. Allen and B. E. Utz. Mr. Ross was at Spokane from 1890-1892. Under Utz's energetic leadership, Spokane University was launched.
Spokane University is discussed in the chapter on Colleges.

A local writer, writing about 1900, says of the county churches in the aggregate:

It has received very little aid from any missionary society or church extension fund - in the aggregate not more than one thousand or one thousand five hundred dollars - since the first church was organized in the county, twenty years ago. It has supported its own preachers and evangelists, and erected and furnished its own church buildings. It has contributed more to missions, home and foreign, more to the church extension fund, to aid building houses of worship elsewhere, than it has ever received.

Charles Reign Scoville - 4.2 K
C. R. Scoville
Charles Reign Scoville was tremendously successful at mass evangelism at the turn of the century and he brought his team to Spokane in 1910. By this time, the church had moved down W. Third Avenue to a new building at the SW corner of W. 3rd and S. Stephens.

Mr. Scoville reported in the Christian Standard of July 23, 1910:

We began the meeting in Spokane at the Central Christian Church, where C. F. Stevens has a large downtown congregation, and a large auditorium, and all the problems of a downtown church. Because of its location, the Sunday school is not as large as it would otherwise be. The fact that Bro. Stevens has ministered so many years here demonstrates the fact that he could succeed anywhere.

After a four weeks' meeting at the Central Church, we went to the Pacific Avenue Church in Union Park where A. C. Downing has a splendid congregation, and a Bible school of 200. The church recently had a meeting, and the field was pretty well gleaned. Although we could only stay six days with the Pacific Avenue Church, and while the building is small, the meetings resulted in 100 added to that congregation.

Following this we went to the north side of the river and into a new field about one mile northeast of the Dean Avenue Church where Bruce Brown is doing a most excellent work, with a congregation of representative men, and a mile southeast of the Jackson Avenue Church, where J. W. Allen has established a new congregation. It was my privilege and pleasure to labor with Dr. Allen in 1897, while he was minister of the Franklin Circle Church of Cleveland, Ohio. The meeting at the tent closed Sunday night with thirty-five added during the day, with a total of 732 coming forward by confession, or by letter or statement, during the campaign. During the meeting we went once to the Kenwood Church, a mission located in the northeast corner of the city. Brother Minges and the rest of our helpers were there for two other fine services.

Just east of Kenwood lies Hillyard, a railroad suburb of Spokane, where we spoke at Moore's Hall, organizing a church of 40 three weeks ago. They have gone on securing a lot, and have built a tabernacle which we dedicated last Sunday afternoon, asking for $600 and raising $831 in twenty-five minutes. The membership has increased to eighty-four. W. S. Lemon, former State evangelist, has taken the work, and we feel the establishing of this church of itself was worth the cost of the entire campaign.

My evangelistic company consisted of W. J. Minges and wife, Bro. M. having charge of the personal work and C. H. Guthrie and wife. Mr. Guthrie directed the chorus, and his wife played one of the pianos and assisted in calling and personal work. Unfortunately, she was sick during almost the entire meeting in this city. Miss Shirley Stevens is my secretary, and also acted as personal worker. Mrs. Scoville did the solo work, and had charge of the meeting for girls and women.
We have retained the spelling and grammar of the original.

There is a profile of Charles Reign Scoville.

Deep Creek Map

Originally named Deep Creek Falls, the name was shortened to Deep Creek in 1894.

A Christian Church existed there for a few years. It was established by A. W. Dean. Linus Rogers reported in the Christian Standard of 1888 that he preached there on occasion. John Boggs had filled in for the ailing A. W. Dean during the early part of 1888.

Plaza Map

Our evidence that a Church of Christ once existed in Plaza is circumstantial. The 1904 mailing list of Daniel Sommer's Octographic Review, published in Indianapolis, Indiana, reveals 13 subscribers from Plaza. This equals the number that subscribed from Spokane and is higher than any other community in Washington State.

The church may have been launched by William Randolph Cunningham, an evangelist living in Adams County.

Other early members may have included: J. H. Bolon, Ida Dickenson, George Dorsey, Marice Dugger, Fred Hayes, Mrs. S. D. Hood, Y. T. Hood, Clarke Pollin, Mary A. Reeves, Loren Sterling, Mrs. Martha Williams and Dessie Wyatt.

Additionally, the mailing list included Samuel Orange Pool, a busy church organizer around the turn of the century. The history of the Cheney Christian Church shows that their preacher, W. Orchard Hays, preached at Plaza on Sunday evenings about 1898 or 1899.

Greenacres Map

Greenacres Washington Christian Church
Greenacres Christian Church about 1905.
Plans were drawn by W. S. Lemmon.
The church originally met in a schoolhouse under the leadership of Benjamin Edward Utz.    Melford Smith held meetings in 1905 and 1906.

The building shown was built in 1905 or 1906 with volunteer labor. It was constructed like the Bethany, WV church, with a separate entrance for men and women. However, it appears that all of the traffic passed through the door nearest to the camera. The platform was usually between the two doors on the inside when the two doors were used. Just imagine being a late-comer.

Spokane - Hillyard Map

Hillyard Washington Christian Church
Hillyard Christian Church
Hillyard was a rail town east of Spokane. The church was the outcome of a gospel meeting conducted by Charles Reign Scoville in 1910. There were 25 charter members.

The first building was a tabernacle on Lacey Street between Queen and Wabash. The permanent building was on the southwest corner of East Queen Avenue and North Altamont Street.

The earliest preachers were J. Allen, W. S. Lemon and A. C. Downing.

Spokane - Westgate

The Central Church in Spokane launched the Dean Avenue church which became, in turn, the Jefferson Street Church, Pacific Avenue, Kenwood, and Hillyard. Hilyard moved and became the independent Westgate Christian Church.

Next Chapter: Stevens County or back to Pioneer Menu