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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

First Unitarian Church of Oakland

 
 
First Unitarian Church of Oakland Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 26, 2009
1. First Unitarian Church of Oakland Marker
Inscription. Designed in 1889 by Walter J. Mathews, this solid masonry Romanesque church departed radically from California's traditional Gothic wood frame construction. Noted for its world famous stained glass windows produced by Goodhue of Boston, and for arching redwood spans, the widest at that time west of the Rockies, the church remains a significant cultural and architectural landmark.
California Registered Historical Landmark No. 896
Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the first Unitarian Church of Oakland, October 30, 1977
 
Erected 1977 by California State Department of Parks and Recreation and The First Unitarian Church of Oakland. (Marker Number 896.)
 
Location. 37° 48.389′ N, 122° 16.616′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker is at the intersection of Fourteenth Street and Castro Street, on the left on Fourteenth Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 685 Fourteenth Street, Oakland CA 94612, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Charles S. Greene Library (within shouting distance of this marker); Preservation Park (about 400 feet away, measured
First Unitarian Church of Oakland - View of Fourteenth Street Church Entrance from NE image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 26, 2009
2. First Unitarian Church of Oakland - View of Fourteenth Street Church Entrance from NE
The Church traces its roots to 1869, when Laurentine Hamilton, a Presbyterian minister, was convicted of heresy and expelled from the church. Hamilton and his followers formed a separate church, which after his passing eventually organized into the first Unitarian Church of Oakland in 1887. The congregation then met at the Odd Fellows Hall, and then Hamilton Hall, until the church was completed in 1891.
in a direct line); The Pardee House (about 800 feet away); Lafayette Square Timeline (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chabot Observatory (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oakland City Hall (approx. mile away); 1946 General Strike (approx. 0.3 miles away); Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Oakland.
 
More about this marker. The marker is located on the wall to the immediate right of the entrance to the church.
 
Also see . . .  Who We Are. The First Unitarian Church of Oakland's webpage description of the Church, including a section on its history. (Submitted on May 8, 2009.) 
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.Notable Buildings
 
First Unitarian Church of Oakland - Cornerstone image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 26, 2009
3. First Unitarian Church of Oakland - Cornerstone
Perhaps to be interpreted that Truth is their cornerstone? Or that the Church is founded upon Truth? The cornerstone was laid in August 1890 by the California Grand Lodge of Masons, as many members of the congregation were Masons.

Completed at a cost of $77,000 the church was dedicated on September 6, 1891.
"View of North (Front) Facade" - Courtesy of the Historic American Buildings Survey image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Van Dis, March 1996
4. "View of North (Front) Facade" - Courtesy of the Historic American Buildings Survey
This shot gives a wider view of the whole church complex, consisting of three wings. Nearest is the Parish House wing, furthest is the auditorium wing and tower, and between the two is a courtyard, with a barely visible Sunday school wing (called Wendte Hall), connecting the two other wings.
Wendte Hall Interior, Courtesy of the Historic American Buildings Survey image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Van Dis, March 1996
5. Wendte Hall Interior, Courtesy of the Historic American Buildings Survey
The interior of Wendte Hall, showing the redwood spans, the largest west of the Rockies when the church was constructed in 1890.
"What the Earthquake Did to Us" image. Click for full size.
Photographer Unknown, Courtesy of the Oakland History Room, Oakland Public Library, circa 1906
6. "What the Earthquake Did to Us"
Although most people associate the April 1906 earthquake with San Francisco, the quake's damage was spread throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Taken after cleanup had started, this photo shows the severe damage to the church tower and south gable. The tower was rebuilt according to the original plans.
First Unitarian Church of Oakland - View from NW image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 26, 2009
7. First Unitarian Church of Oakland - View from NW
In addition to meeting the spiritual needs of its congregation, Oakland's First Unitarian Church has served as a center of social and intellectual life for much of the East Bay. Notable persons to have spoken or performed here include William Howard Taft, Joaquin Miller, Isadora Duncan, Herbert Hoover, Bret Harte, Julia Ward Howe, Alexander Graham Bell, and Jack London (who was also married here).
<i>First Unitarian Church, Oakland, California</i> image. Click for full size.
circa 1910
8. First Unitarian Church, Oakland, California
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 1,590 times since then and 88 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   8. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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