A postcard showing this Church building in its earlier days.

The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., June 22, 1910, page 1
Includes an illustration very similar to the one directly below this article


     The new church, which will be erected facing State street, will be 48x60 feet. Under it will be a basement equipped with kitchen, dining room and a gymnasium and reading room for the young people. The front will be half stone veneer with half timbered gables. At the southwest corner an entrance will be provided and another at the side. The structure will be topped with a tower and will be lighted from three sides with large gothic windows. It will be ventilated from a main skylight placed in the central dome of the auditorium. The old building will be divided from the new structure by a big rolling curtain which can be rolled back, throwing the two into one. The combined seating will be 800.

The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., August 18, 1910, page 2
Includes illustration.

     Work is progressing on the process of remodeling the Methodist church the plans for which were drawn by Architect R.R. Bartlett. A picture of the church as it is designed to look when completed is shown here. The excavation under the new portion of the church is well underway being done by the Transfer & Livery company. The contract for the cement wall foundation has been let to McLucas & Dobson and they expect to begin work soon.
     Architect Bartlett said plans call for a modern church building and the changes will cost between $12,000 and $15,000. The basement will be fitted up with an assembly room in which there will be a platform and the place may be used for the Sunday school and society meetings. There will also be besides the furnace room a well equipped dining room and kitchen in to which there will be a side entrance leading in from the street.
     The whole main floor will be given over to the auditorium. It will be arranged so that the auditorium of the old building, which has been moved around to the rear of the lot can be thrown together with the new building by means of rolling partitions. The platform will be on the east side of the church and extend into both sections of the auditorium. The pipe organ which it is planned to install at the back of the platform will cost about $2,000. There will be two entrances through double doors to the church from State street. The exterior will be of stone and cement brick construction on the lower story while the work in the gables will be stucco. The roof will be covered with asbestos shingles.
     In speaking of the new building which will afford the largest church auditorium in Hood River, Dr. T.B. Ford, the pastor, said that it was his hope to make it more than a mere sanctuary. He said that it does not pay to use a building but one day in the week and that his church would be open for lectures, concerts and assemblies of various sorts which were in keeping with ideals of rightliving.

The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., December 4, 1912, page 1


     The Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church will be dedicated Sunday morning, December 8, at 10:45 o'clock. Bishop Richard J. Cooke D.D. LL. D. will deliver the dedicatory sermon. Rev. Benjamin Young D.D., pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Portland, will preach the evening sermon.
     We trust that every reader of this announcement will consider it a personal invitation to attend the services. William B. Young, Pastor.
     Several of the other local denominations have given up their services next Sunday in order that the congregations may unite in the dedicatory service.
     The new church was recently completed and has brought forth much favorable comment. It is most attractive architecturally, being constructed of brick with a mission effect. Beautiful stained glass windows add to the beauty of the edifice and the interior is finished with a view to comfort as well as beauty.
     The congregation is deserving of great credit for their efforts, which will culminate at the dedicatory services to be held next Sunday. A more complete description of the new building will be included in the report of the services next week.

The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., December 11, 1912, page 1

Impressive Ceremonies, in Which All Denominations of the City Unite, Mark Opening of Structure Just Completed by Asbury M.E. Church - Bishop Cooke's Appeal Brings Generous Response.

     Under the most auspicious circumstances the new Methodist church was formerly dedicated Sunday. At both services the building, which has a seating capacity of about 700, was well filled and the ceremonies which marked the opening of the new church were impressive and inspiring. Voluntary contributions received at the two services totaled $4500, which removed all debt from the church except a part of the amount which will be paid for the pipe organ.
     The morning service opened with instrumental preludes by Mrs. Hazel W. Hinrichs. Rev. H.O. Perry led in prayer, after which Mrs. Beth Edgington, accompanied by Mrs. Hinrichs and with Dr. Sharp's violin obligato, sang "The Angel's Serenade" very beautifully. Rev. E.A. Harris read the scripture lesson. The offertory solo, "The Pilgrims," was rendered by Mr. Osgood in a very pleasing manner. Bishop Richard J. Cooke, D.D. LL. D., then delivered the dedicatory sermon. This was a powerful oratorical effort and the bishop held his audience from beginning to end. At times the emotional intensity of his words brought tears to the eyes of many of his listeners.
     At the conclusion of his sermon the bishop made a strong appeal for contributions with which to pay off the remaining debt on the church. This met with a generous response.
     At the evening service the church was again filled and Dr. Benjamin Young of Portland, brother of Rev. W.B. Young, delivered a strong sermon, taking as his text the words "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Mrs. P.S. Davidson contributed to the musical portion of the program by rendering "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" in her usual effective manner. Another opportunity was given at this time to make contributions to the church and the amount given brought the total contributions of the day up to $4500. Included in this was $100 which was given by "Billy" Sunday, the well known evangelist, who wired this sum to Mr. Young just previous to the morning services. Other non-resident churchmen, including T.S. McDaniel of Portland, made contributions to the fund.
     All who saw the church were delighted with its beauty and comfort, both interior and exterior being completed and attractive in every way. Chief among the adornments of the building are the memorial windows of stained glass. There are two large windows. One was given by Mrs. O.L. Stranahan in memory of her husband and is entitled "A Resurrection Morn." The other, in front of the church, is entitled "Rock of Ages" that was given by W.S. Nichol in memory of his parents. William Boorman gave another window entitled "Ascencion," while Mrs. Humphrey Pugh and her late husband gave one representing the "Good Shepherd." The pulpit was the gift of the pastor's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Young of Spokane.

Is Architecturally Beautiful

     The building is brick veneered with trimmings of grey pressed brick. It is 60 by 92 feet in size, making it one of the largest church buildings in the county. It is designed with Gothic details and among the attractive details are a number of handsome memorial art glass windows.
     There are two vestibuled entrances, both surmounted by towers, in one of which the church bell is hung.
     In the main auditorium the pulpit and organ occupy a place in one corner and the floor is bowled toward them, giving a circular seating arrangement designed to conform to the contour of the floor, with aisles radiating out in a convenient manner.
     They old portion of the building, which was moved to the rear, now constitutes an annex to the main auditorium and has been entirely remodeled to conform with the new portion of the building. It is connected with the main auditorium by horizontal rolling curtains which shut the annex off except on special occasions when the seating capacity of the church may be materially increased by rolling up these curtains. At other times the old building is used for Sunday School purposes and meetings of other church organizations.
     There is a steam heating plant which serves both old and new parts.
     Electricity is used for lighting and the indirect system is used, reflectors being encased in large composition pendants, the colors of which carry out the color scheme used in the decorations of walls and ceilings. These give a bright but mellow light throughout the room.
     The auditorium is well ventilated with ventilators in the windows and there is also a large ventilator placed in the central part of the ceiling and covered with an art glass square.
     Both the interior and exterior of the edifice are decidedly pleasing to the eye and they are also designed to give a maximum degree of comfort and convenience. The structure was designed by R.R. Bartlett, architect.
     The church was organized here in October, 1892 with nine members, who formed a separate organization from that of Belmont M.E. church with which they had been affiliated. The first church building was known as "The Barracks," as it was built of rough wood and left unfinished. This building has since been remodeled to serve as a dwelling and is owned and occupied by Rev. J.W. Rigby, the first pastor of the church. It was 24 by 32 feet in size.
     The first services were held two months after the organization of the newchurch. That was December 31, 1892, and Mr. Rigby was in charge.
     When the increasing congregations out grew "The Barracks" the second church was built in 1895 and this has served the congregation until the present access was opened. The church now has 160 members instead of the original nine and the new building is equipped with a seating capacity of 700. The cost of the structure, together with the remodeling of the old one, was $15,000.
     Among the ministers who have been in charge of the church were W.C. and Nathan Evans, J.W. Rigby, J.M. Denison and Messrs. Lathrop, Ford, Young, McOmber, Hines and Spaulding. Rev. William B. Young, at present pastor of the church, has been indefatigable in his efforts toward securing the new building and his congregation has cooperated with him with a degree of zeal and self-sacrifice which has successfully overcome all obstacles.

The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., December 5, 1912, page 5


     That handsome new Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church on State Street is nearly completed. The brick and concrete structure, which will cost approximately $20,000, forms one of the most beautiful places of worship in the city. The brick were manufactured here, the red burnt ones by A.T. Zeek and those of concrete by the Bradley Bros. Concrete Co.. The church has the largest auditorium of any religious edifice in the city.
     The electrical fixtures, furnished by the Electrical Wiring & Supply Co., are extremely handsome. The light streaming through the stained glass memorial windows makes the interior of the church restful yet inspiring. There are memorial windows dedicated to the memory of L.A. Nichol and Oscar L. Stranahan. Two smaller windows have been presented by Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey Peugh and by Mr. and Mrs. William Boorman.
     The church will be dedicated next Sunday morning at 10:45 o'clock. Bishop Richard J. Cooke D.D. LL. D. will deliver the dedicatory sermon. Rev. Benjamin Young D.D., pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Portland, will preach the evening sermon. We trust that every reader of this announcement will consider it a personal invitation to attend the services.

William B. Young, Pastor.

The Hood River Glacier, Hood River, OR., December 12, 1912, page 1


     The dedication of the handsome new $20,000 Methodist Episcopal church Sunday, the Asbury Methodist church, recalls some of the interesting bits of the history of the Methodism in the valley.
     The first congregation of Methodists in Hood River, twenty years ago, worshipped in a little frame butcher shop. A yellow, faded document, signed March 23, 1896, by W.H. Bishop, reads:
     "The Asbury class of the M.E. church was separated from the Belmont class in October, 1892, with the following members: Mrs. W.H. Bishop, leader, W.H. Bishop, Mrs. Mercer, Nannie Mercer Mr. Orser, Mrs. Orser, Sadie Orser, M.H. Nickelsen, Mrs. I. Nickelsen.
     "The first public preaching service was held December 31, 1892, being a watch night service led by Rev. J.W. Rigby, preacher in charge.
     "The first formal action, looking toward a church building, was taken at a meeting held at the residence of O.L. Stranahan, April 10, 1893. There were present the board of trustees, consisting of Mrs. N.J. Mercer, Mrs. I. Nickelsen and W.H. Bishop, together with a number of the other members. The meeting decided to purchase lot 1, block C in Waucoma, consideration $150. At a later meeting, held May 8, J.P. Watson and O.L. Stranahan were added to the board of trustees and the present plan for a church was chosen. Several hundred dollars in subscriptions were taken, when owing to the financial depression settling over the country, and the inability to get help from the church extension society on satisfactory terms, the building of the church was postponed and a temporary structure 24x32 was erected in its stead.
     "Soon after conference in 1895, Rev. J.M. Dennison being pastor, the subject of church building was revived. The old location was not satisfactory to some of the present members, so the present site was purchased for $300. A subscription aggregating $1200 has already been taken.
     "The present board of trustees are: M.H. Nickelsen, chairman, W.H. Bishop, secretary, O.L. Strnahan, Thomas McDonald, J.P. Watson. The building committee are: Humphrey Peugh, chairman, F.E. Jackson, J.P. Watson, J.M. Dennison."
     Rev. J.W. Rigby, one of the early ministers here, has compiled the following facts for the Glacier.
     It is quite likely there was occasionally an appointment filled earlier than July 1874, but at that date Nehamiah Doane organized a class of eight members of whom Frank Sherrieb is the only one now living. Mr. Doane was in charge at The Dalles and was followed by S.S. Vandersall, in '73-'75. He was followed by John Kirkland. Then there seems to have been a cessation for ten years. In May 1886 F.R. Spaulding was sent as supply minister until conference met. E.G. Davis took charge in the fall. About this time the matter of a church building began to be agitated. It was finally located at Belmont, as there were more members there and more money could be raised for the building of the church and parsonage. E.G. Johnson took charge in '87 and '88 and was followed by J.W. Helm in '89 and W.S. Holcomb in '98 and '91. October 17, 1891, A.W. Rigby reached the valley and planned for aggressive work.
     There were no members in Hood River, nor could even room be obtained for occupation until the fall of 1892. Then services were held in a little butcher shop where the Paris Fair now does business. In the meantime the lot on the corner of Seventh and Oak was purchased for $100. In the early spring of 1893 a revival meeting was started in charge of J. Henry Wood, then acting evangelist, and 30 members were added to the Hood River class. Plans were now laid for a church and a board of trustees elected. But the financial crash of that year came and the old building now owned by J.W. Rigby, known as the Methodist Barracks, was built and occupied for the next three years.
     In the fall of '93 Rev. Hodgson then took charge, followed in '94 by F.S. Johns and he by J.M. Dennison, who started the church building on the property occupied. In 1896 A.K. Hines was put in charge and the church was dedicated by Bishop Cranston. Frank R. Spaulding followed and did some good financiering in getting the church out of debt. Mr. Spaulding remained full five years and was followed in the fall of 1903 by W.C. Evans. He did some good work in putting the electric lights in the church and building a fine parsonage. A.H. Lathrop, of the Ohio Conference, an able workmen, followed for one year, and Nathan Evans took charge. At the close of the year he was relieved by T.B. Ford. Mr. Ford set his face on a new church building and favored the removal of the old building back from the street and broke ground for the foundation of the new building. But at conference he refused to return and Rev. McOmber was sent to the charge, but found the work so difficult that it was necessary to again change, and at the conference of 1911, W.B. Young, the present pastor was appointed to this most difficult task.
     Bishop Richard J. Cooke delivered the dedicatory sermon Sunday, and the pulpit of the new church was filled Sunday night by Rev. Benjamin Young, of Portland, who is a brother of the local pastor.
     A call for donations to the new church was made and the sum of $4500 was raised. Rev. "Billy" Sunday wired from McKeesport, Pa., that he could be counted on for $100 for the new church. The following message was received over the wires from T.S. McDaniel, of Portland: "Congratulations to yourself and people on the completion of your church. May it long minister to the religious life of your fair city. Count on me for $25 and get at least three non-residents to do the same."
     The pulpit of the new church was donated by the parents of Rev. Young.

The Hood River News, Hood River, OR., February 14, 1930, page 9


     For many years Asbury Methodist Episcopal church has been in bondage. It has struggled under a debt incurred in the erection of the building. Many wishing to share the fellowship have been frightened away by the chains. But others, sharing that the vision of those who began to build and willing to make sacrifice for the cause, have come to their rescue. Today the building stands entirely clear of debt. However, with Paul, the congregation feels that to have is too owe. Money cannot pay the debt we owe to those who have made the work thus far a success. We must prove ourselves worthy of the inheritance which is ours by carrying on the work for which others have nobly sacrificed.
     On Wednesday evening, Feb. 19, the church will celebrate its independence by rejoicing over that which has been accomplished.
     Dr. Thomas B. Elliott , of Portland, who has made a special study of the Christian ministry, will speak Sunday morning on the theme, Methodism and the Ministry.

The Oregon Journal, Portland, OR., May 24, 1936, section 2, page 10


     Hood River, May 23 - The congregations and other friends of Asbury Methodist church of Hood River this week are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the organization in Hood River valley.
     At the anniversary banquet it was recalled that on May 18, 1886, the Rev. W.C. Gray, pastor of the Methodist church at The Dalles, came over to Hood River and brought with him a young evangelist, the Rev. Frank R. Spalding, who held a series of meetings among pioneer residents of the valley.
     As a result, a Methodist congregation was organized, and the first church was built at Belmont, two miles west of Hood River. Here each Sunday, for many years, pioneers met to worship and to discuss affairs of the community. When the country church was discontinued, the congregation affiliated with Asbury church, in Hood River, which was built in 1914. Not so many years ago, the congregation of this church, under the leadership of the Rev. Gabriel Sykes, paid off its indebtedness, and today the property is valued at $25,000.
     Many of the old pastors and friends of Asbury church attended the anniversary celebration, and among them was the Rev. Frank Spalding who 50 years ago conducted the evangelistic services which led to organization of the church. The Rev. R.A. Fedje is pastor today.

©  Jeffrey L. Elmer