HISTORIC PLACES OF WORSHIP IN SAN JOSE, CA


First Church of Christ,Scientist

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was designed by Willis Polk and built in 1905. The plan of the building is a Greek cross; four iconic columns dominate the entry portico. Since the construction of a new church in 1946, the building has been used for a variety of purposes. Its scale and dignity make it an important contributor to the city's architectural heritage.

First Unitarian Church

San Jose's First Unitarian Church was organized in 18867. The congregation met in City Hall, with a minister riding on horseback from Santa Cruz once a month to conduct services. By 1869, the church had its own minister and, in 1891, the present building was erected. While at the time of its construction the church housed a congregation of only 100, the building's prominence reflects the status of its early members. Designed be George M. Page, a well-known local architect, the building has served its congregation continuously since its completion. The First Unitarian Church served as home to Mary Hayes Chynoweth's Universal Life Church when her chapel burned down.

St. Joseph's Cathedral

St. Joseph's was the first church of the Pueblo de San Jose.html . The original adobe structure was on the present site in 1803. It was replaced by a second adobe in 1845, which in turn was replaced by a wooden building in 1869. After this structure was destroyed by fire in 1875, the present building was begun. Designed by architect Bryant J. Clinch, this grand edifice continues to house San Jose's oldest seat of Christian worship.

Trinity Episcopal Church

This Carpenter Gothic church was constructed in 1863 and is the oldest church building in San Jose. John W. Hammond a sea captain and member of the parish, built the structure to his own design. A simple rectangle with a steeply hipped roof, it was constructed largely of redwood logged in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1876, the church was cut in half and the front was shifted to face North Second Street, increasing the building's capacity two-fold. A bell tower was added at this time, and to this, the top story and the steeple were added in 1887.

Bichur Cholim

San Jose's first Hebrew congregation-Bickur Cholim-was founded August 5, 1861. The congregation met in City Hall and at various locations in the downtown prior to building their first facility on this site in 1870. Used continuously until 1940, the building was rendered unsafe by a fire that broke out in the sanctuary: Kurt Opper, a member of the congregation and a refugee from Nazi Germany, saved the Torah from burning. In 1948, a new facility, now called Temple Emanu-El, was built at Myrtle and University.

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