old exteriorThe Old Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 because it’s an excellent example of Carpenter Gothic architecture and it has been remarkably unaltered since its construction in the 1880s. Today it is a striking contrast to the modern mid- and high-rise buildings that surround it. Designed for free by Portland architect and Presbyterian Warren Williams, the Old Church’s simple and elegant design fit with the congregation’s focus on scripture rather than ornamentation and iconography. Warren Williams was based in Portland and designed many other buildings here and elsewhere, including the Grand Stable and Carriage Building and the Morris Marks House, both of which are still standing and have also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Old Church has long had a dramatic and stately presence on the street. Originally it was painted gray-brown to mimic Gothic stonework. The clean geometry of the building is complemented by cathedral style windows, ornate window traceries, archways, chimneys, and spires. A porte-cochere which sheltered church visitors as they got out of their carriages projects off the west side of the building.

Carpenter Gothic