Photo copyright Claudia East 2008
Sitting at the corner of Yama and North Oregon Streets in Yreka nestled among mostly beautiful victorian and historical houses one will find the First Baptist Church, a simple but strong appearing cement block building. At first one might wonder ~ why this architecture, why not something more complementary to the surroundings? A peek into the timeline may answer some of the questions!
It was on July 27, 1947 that the founding of this church began with the first meeting of this congregation. Ground breaking ceremonies for the church above were held on October 17, 1948 and the church was dedicated on December 4, 1949. The first regular minister was a Rev. E. Halcrow. In September of 1972 the church held 25th anniversary ceremonies and the Siskiyou Daily News ran a short article and photo on September 6, 1972 regarding this event.
Concrete block construction had been around since since early 1900s, but it was in the 1940s that concrete block construction took a "leap"... technology in producing these concrete blocks was improved by new patents and builders and architects were looking for more efficient ways to build inexpensively and a the same time improve fireproofing and insulation. Concrete slab floors were also becoming more accepted and the concrete block construction lent itself well to this technique. It was "post war" (WWII) and having things new and modern was absolutely high on many lists! At this time one must remember that victorian architecture was 50 years old and definitely out of style. (Today it would be early 1960 construction that would hit that mark.) Many towns, cities, and people were eager to embrace the newer more youthful look of new construction. Whether or not these were some of the reasons the First Baptist Church took on this appearance is not known to this author, but it is an "educated" guess.
Copyright Claudia East, 2008