(The following record was copied from a Church bulletin, dated August 28, 1994, at which time the final service was held in the original Baptist Church building at Waldport.)
God’s Church (1900-1994)
In 1882 David Ruble donated a lot in Waldport, with the stipulation that it be used for a non-sectarian community church. The Presbyterian Church included it in their missions program and in November 1900, plans were formulated for a building.
According to Mrs. Smick, the pastor’s wife, “The Tide cast a fine redwood log on the beach, just back of the building site. This was used for the foundation blocks.”
Logs were cut from the Lint Slough, floated to the Harrison Mill for cutting and on to the building site. The one-roomed structure was dedicated on April, 1901.
Sponsored by the Southern Baptist Church of Toledo, April 4, 1954, the Southern Baptist Church in Waldport became a reality with 10 Charter Members. Howard Reuter was pastor from April to December 1954. Meetings were held in the old City Hall building in the center of town close to the Post Office.
In March 1958, under the leadership of Pastor Bruce Rich, they purchased the old Community Presbyterian Church. A.L. Argo pastured from May 1959 to December 1960, E.W. Jack Davis from July 1960 to May 1963.
July 21, 1963, Jimmy Dunlap, along with his wife Mary, son James and daughter Patricia, began a long tenure as pastor. The church grew steadily. Pastor Jimmy was a man after God’s heart, he was enthusiastic and possessed boundless energy. Under his leadership in 1965 and 1966, the old building was remodeled to its present status.
In 1967 the church sponsored a mission V.B.S. in Yachats; through the continued mission support and work of the Yachats Baptist Church became a reality a few years later.
In 1988 Jimmy Dunlap was called home to be with the Lord. His son James held the church on course until July 1989, when Ron Curley was called as pastor. Gary Bowser followed from September through March 1994.
Jimmy Dunlap had a vision for a new church building. In 1980 a beautiful piece of property was purchased on the Alsea River, near Eckman Lake; however, a permit for a septic system was denied. The congregation cleared the grounds and continued to pray.
In 1989 Pastor Ron Curley and Richard Patching began to re-address the soil and sanitation problem. Along with Deacons John Wilson, Bob Payne and James Dunlap, they reapplied and received the necessary permit to build the septic system.
God’s timing is always perfect! Insurance money from the Kelly property fire allowed the property to belong to the church free and clear. Improvements have now been made with the building and recreational pavilion, a parking lot, a grass area and a storage unit/construction office. The building foundation will be poured this summer and if the God gives the go ahead – the church will be built this summer.
The fragile wooden structure has lasted nearly 94 years as a House of God. The prayers of the original founders have been answered, many souls have been saved, many names written in the Book of Life for eternity.
Probably the oldest structure, still in use in Waldport, it way outlasted the original strong concrete bridge over the Alsea Bay, which was built in 1936 and replaced in 1991.
Now in God’s time,August 1994, the church doors will close and we move on, saying “Thank You, Lord, for letting us use your House of Worship for so many years.”
More of the continuing story of the First Baptist Church of Waldport to be added…