The year 1889 brought a new religious experience to Spokane. The Church of Christ, Scientist, was described by one adherent as “similar to Protestantism,” with having the added benefit of scientific belief.
Founded a decade prior by Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Science was one of the most dynamic and controversial of American faiths. The Spokane congregation was no different, having a difficult start in a new region. Until 1904, the Spokane members met at varying locations, including the Jewish Tabernacle. In 1903, the Church purchased their first plot of land, on the northwest corner lot on Post and 4th. The members of the Church hired the famous Spokane architect Kirtland Cutter to design a simple yet elegant building.
Cutter drafted magnificent plans, a modification of Spanish Mission Revival architecture. A simple exterior with a large façade and few doors and windows concealed a luxurious interior with detailed rafters and chandeliers.
The new building offered a place of religious solidarity for Spokane’s elite in the early days of the city. Doctors, lawyers, lawmen, business owners and everyday citizens became practitioners of the religion. Early Church rosters include names such as Burgan, the furniture salesman, and James Blomfeild, an influential area artist, and the designer of the building’s stained glass window.
Early Christian Science Journals featured testimonies from some of Spokane’s members. One tells the story of a woman that in 1894, “was given up by the best physicians in the city to die.” A Christian Science healer visited her and after three weeks, she again had perfect health.
The church was demolished when I-90 came through Spokane, and a new church was built on 14th Avenue. Members saved what they could from the original structure. The new church contains the original organ and pipes, as well as the pews from Cutter’s building. The church also salvaged the cornerstone and the large stained glass window, which they restored in the winter of 2016, and will soon have on display.