The church I’ve belonged to for years is celebrating it’s 125th anniversary! Community Church of Poway, United Church of Christ, is the oldest structure in continuous use as a church in San Diego County, erected circa 1887. The congregation was originally organized as the Methodist Episcopal Church in Oceanside, CA. In 1883 the Poway property was exchanged with Oceanside Congregational Church and in 1893 became Community Church of Poway. The historic plaque is marked by San Diego Parlor No. 208, Iila Knox Parlor No. 320, Native Daughters of the Golden West, 1976.
The structure is a fine example of Victorian “Queen Anne” style architecture (1880-1910). Here are some of the qualities of Queen Anne structures;
- Steep roof
- Complicated, asymmetrical shape
- Front-facing gable
- One-story porch that extends across one or two sides of the house
- Round or square towers
- Wall surfaces textured with decorative shingles, patterned masonry
- Ornamental spindles and brackets
- Bay windows
Typical of this style are decorative-shaped shingles, in this case scalloped, running in a course 3 feet high at the base of the chapel, and extending around on all four sides. This is followed by a course of over-lapped wood slats used for the siding. Additional courses of the scalloped shingles follow as you continue up the sides. Ornamental brackets batten each end of the roof at it’s peak. The chapel was built of California redwood and still maintains some original glass panes in the windows. Complicated but restrained molding is used throughout. The roof of the sanctuary is kept structurally sound by the use of a clever device installed between the mid-points of the two side walls that run from the front to the back. Instead of large wood beams typically used, the worship space is kept open with the use of a forged steel screw and coupling device that allows the tension of the roof load to be balanced between the exterior walls. The interior ceiling of the sanctuary resembles the bow of an upended ship. A beautiful building, handmade by early Poway settlers.
Back in 1987 the church was preparing to celebrate it’s 100th anniversary. The event was a huge success. Many of the church members appeared in period dress, music was provided by a roving barber shop quartet, and we finished up with a balloon release and ice cream social. I was asked by a church member to create a painting portraying the old chapel as it might have appeared in the 1890′s. Some research revealed that Poway Valley was completely rural at this time. Nothing but rolling fields of native grass with occasional scrub oaks near the few stream beds that ran thru the valley. Perhaps 800 people, more or less, lived in Poway during this time and without a secure source of steady water it was a hard farming life. I decided to depict the church as it once stood pretty much all by itself on Community Road around 1900. The painting below was the result. Entitled, “Poway Pioneer Church ~ 1887″. From the viewpoint I chose, across the street and kitty-cornered from the chapel, stood the old Templars Hall. When Old Poway Park was developed in the 1980′s, Templars Hall was moved to a prominent spot in the park and restored.
Here are a couple of links to get more information about this event;
SAVE THE DATE! ~ June 23, 2012 ~ THE CHAPEL’S 125th BIRTHDAY PARTY!
13501 Community Road, Poway CA 92064, (858) 748-3304
YOU ARE INVITED! The Community is invited to join us in a celebration of our beloved Chapel’s 125th Birthday from 3PM to 6PM on Saturday, June 23rd. SAVE THE DATE. Old-fashioned fun for the whole family is planned. Presentation of awards for a chapel art contest for artist of all ages from our community will be part of the celebration; [ Click Here ] to read the contest rules. [ Contact Us ] for more information.
~ Enjoy, sidestreetsam