St. Paul's Lutheran Kirche - Douglas, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 47° 37.341 W 120° 00.280
10T E 725055 N 5278674
Quick Description: Up a slight hill from Highway 2 as it passes through the tiny community of Douglas, St. Paul's Kirche looks over the settlement from the northern end of North Douglas Creek Road.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 5/31/2018 7:22:22 PM
Waymark Code: WMYD5D
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 0

Long Description:
Gothic Revival with a hint of Vernacular and Italianate influences, this large wood framed church is actually quite an impressive house of worship for a community as tiny as is Douglas. The first church was built in Douglas in 1889 by Germans and Scandinavians who had migrated to the area. It was replaced by this fine building in 1915. Built at a cost of $10,000, St. Paul's is remarkably well preserved, considering that its days of housing church services ended in 1968.

Facing east from the west side of the street, the church has Gothic Revival windows on three sides of the sanctuary and Gothic Revival vents in the belfry, while the main entrance, centred in the steeple/bell tower, was given a Roman arched transom with sunburst tracery. A set of windows above are surmounted by an identical transom, while still further above are a pair of smaller Gothic arched windows. Above these windows is an eave supported by ogee brackets, defining the bottom of the belfry. Just under the eave is a single row of small dentils stretching between the brackets. The belfry has double Gothic arched vents all around, all filled with horizontal wood slats.

At the top of the belfry is a matching, yet slightly smaller, eave with both brackets and dentils. Above this eave is the spire, consisting of a tall metal clad pyramid with a dormer at each side of its base, each dormer having a tiny Gothic arched opening centred within it, mimicking the larger vent openings below. Topping the spire is a heavy cross which we assume to be made of metal.

The tower itself is centred in the front of the sanctuary and set about 50% of its depth into it. The church rests on a high basement, necessitating a ten step stairway be built at the front. A marble cornerstone was placed in the southeast corner of the concrete foundation, reading: "Luth. St. Paul's Kirche 1915". Unused from 1968 to 2006, in that year it was purchased by the Douglas Community Historical Association and restored, today being used for weddings, family reunions and community events.

The Church was dedicated in 1915 as St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and served the Douglas Community for some 53 years. It was closed in 1968 when the Waterville and Douglas Lutheran Congregations united in a newly built Church in Waterville. The Douglas Church building remained unused and neglected until it was purchased by the Douglas Community Historical Association, in 2006. The non-profit initiated a complete restoration [of] the Church Building and it is currently used for weddings, family reunions and community events.
From Gathering Our Voice

Following is a bit more of the story of the church.

St. Paul's Lutheran Kirche

Since its completion in 1915, the Lutheran St. Paul's Kirche has been the focal point of the small town of Douglas, Washington. Although the population of Douglas has dwindled since its heyday in the late 1800s, the Lutheran Church still stands as a reminder of the community's pioneer past. The building is an exceptionally solid and well crafted structure, and its physical integrity fortunately has been well preserved. St. Paul's is an excellent example of early 20th century German craftsmanship in a remote eastern Washington setting.

The community of Douglas began to take shape in the 1880s as homesteaders staked claims on prairies where cattle and cattlemen had previously roamed free... ...[Many] of German and Scandinavian extraction arrived over the next few years, so that between 1887 and 1889, Douglas was the fastest growing community in the area. By 1889 the town boasted a school, post office, hotel, restaurant, food, hardware, and feed stores, a flour mill, blacksmith, stables, bank, butcher shop, community hall, mortician, and saloons. When the town closed down its saloons to better preserve law and order, much of the impetus for commerce and growth in Douglas moved with the saloon business to nearby Waterville. Waterville's supremacy was assured when it was officially named, the county seat in 1889.

It was during the same year that the settlers of Douglas banded together to form a church... ...Work was soon begun on a modest church structure using donated labor and lumber from the sawmill on nearby Badger Mountain. Although the population of Douglas went into decline shortly thereafter, church membership increased steadily as Lutherans from the surrounding countryside joined the congregation. In 1915, the present church was erected just south of the original building. A Mr. William Puffert from Colbert, Washington,was contracted to design and construct the new edifice for a total cost of $10,000. The new Lutheran St. Paul's Kirche became the hub of the community, the center of its religious, civic and social life.

Architecturally, the church is an unusually sturdy and well conceived example of vernacular church construction. It bears both Gothic and Federal period detailing combined in a thoroughly fresh and straightforward piece of country craftsmanship. Features such as the pressed tin ceiling in the sanctuary give the building a distinctive individuality among others of its type throughout Washington. The building fabric is remarkably well-preserved and the present owners, descendants of the pioneer Westermans, have every intention of retaining the building in its original state.

As the surrounding area farms grew in size and the population of Douglas dwindled, the congregation merged with the Lutherans in Waterville, where a new church was built in 1968. St. Paul's has stood vacant since that time, still.the architectural pride of the community and a reminder of the thriving settlement that Douglas once was.
From the NRHP Nomination Form

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Street address:
98 North Douglas Creek Road
Douglas, WA United States

County / Borough / Parish: Douglas

Year listed: 1982

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Exploration/Settlement, Architecture

Periods of significance: 1900-1924

Historic function: Religion - Religious Structure

Current function: Community Centre

Privately owned?: no

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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