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The White Church that David Blaine built

Rev. David E. Blaine and his wife Catharine arrived in the end of November, 1853, and officiated at the first Seattle Methodist Episocopal Church service on December 4, 1853 in the log cabin of Guthrie Latimer. Founding members were: Catharine Blaine, Arthur and Mary Denny, and John Nagle. Below is an article published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 1, 1898:

Oldest House in SeattleBeing Torn Down To Give Place to a Vaudeville Theater. 

The Church of the Pioneers

Demolition of Building at 213 Cherry Street Recalls Interesting Facts Connected With Its History–House of Worship, Gambling Den, Saloon, and Then Restaurant-Is Marked With Indian Bullets.

A building inseparably identified with the early history of the city is being torn down at 213 Cherry Street, to be replaced by a theater.

Rev. D.E. Blaine began construction on the building in 1854. His wife was the first schoolmistress of the town of Seattle. In 1887 the church people sold the property to the Boston Improvement company for $30,000, using the money to buy a lot and build a new church on Third Avenue and Marion Street. The company disposed of the “White church” to L.H. Griffith, who moved it to its present site.

Through successive years [the building] has served as church, gambling hall, saloon and restaurant, and now, where its flimsy walls have rested will be reared a playhouse. The old boards, seeped in memories of thrilling incidents of pioneer days, and punctured with Indian bullet-holes, are being carried away. The plain-looking house [is] now being destroyed in order to make room for John Cort’s big vaudeville theater.


The church was built for the Methodist Episcopal denomination by Rev. D.E. Blaine on Second Avenue and Columbia Street, the location now occupied by the Boston block. For ten years it was the only church building in town, and, as all worship in it and contributed toward it, the good feeling toward the little church was general. Its walls, pitted by the bullets of many lurking Indians [during the 1856 “Indian War”], are yet very dear to the hearts of the old pioneers. ….

About one year before the fire [Seattle fire of 1889] the church building was removed to its present location, 213 Cherry Street. The entrance, considered in those days a marvel of beauty, was turned ignominiously to the rear and the back end was allowed to show its square, unadorned face on the street.


In the new location a transformation took place. The building in which so many religious services had been held was rented as a gambling den, a basement being built beneath for a saloon. It was in this same building, with now so changed an aspect, that the desperado Dave Denee in 1890 held up the games. He escaped with quite a sum of money. In the melee attending the hold-up one of the gamblers was shot by Denee through the arm. When gambling houses were closed in this city there came another change. The former church was occupied by a restaurant.