historic

History

Founded in 1877 by the Reverend E.W. Allen and seven believers, including Mrs. Allen, the Dayton First Congregational Church was incorporated in 1882. The original church was built in 1880 on the corner of 3rd and Commercial Streets by followers of the Universalists, who disbanded and sold the building to the Congregationalists. The original church was white like the churches of New England in which the founders had worshiped, but its location became less desirable as the railroads came into to town along Commercial Street. In 1903, a large new house of worship was erected on the present site, and the bell from the original 1880's church was moved and still rings every Sunday in the belfry. An education annex was built in 1954-55, and the church building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic Landmark.

There were many influential and intelligent pioneer pastors in the early years of our church, one of which was Stephen Penrose, one of six in the Band of Yale who came west in 1889 to provide workers in a difficult field. Dr. Penrose believed that a true Congregational church was an educated one-that those in the pews as well as in the pulpit should be intelligent. He went on to become President of Whitman College in the 1890s.

The First Congregational Church of Dayton is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, which was formed in 1957 by a merger of the Congregational Christian and the Evangelical United Brethren. The church's twenty-two pastors are commemorated in two frames in the upstairs hallway of the church, and the congregation continues to cherish its past while always looking to the future.

The following links provide very interesting details about the church's early history:

The following link provides information for those conducting family histories, up through 1940:

For information on membership searches after 1940, please contact the church office.