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1511 Chambers Street (ex-1205 Pandora Av)
First Church of Christ, Scientist

Built 1919-20
Heritage-Designated 1979/Institutional

For: Christian Science Church

Architects: George Foote Dunham & Carl Harding Wallwork

1511 Chambers


Beautifully sited at Pandora and Chambers, this church was designed by a firm of Portland architects. It shares many similarities with the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, designed by G.F. Dunham in 1922 in Seattle, now a National Historic Landmark. The design of 1511 is Neoclassical, which gained exposure by its use in commercial buildings, such as the Royal Bank building, now Munro’s Books, and the later CPR Steamship Terminal, 396-468 Belleville St, James Bay. The church’s design is based on the Pantheon in Rome: a domed building fronted by a porch resembling the façade of a Greco-Roman temple. The two-storey porch, at the top of a wide set of concrete steps, is supported by six Ionic columns, and has a flat roof above an entablature that continues around the building. On each side of the church six pilasters echo the design of the main porch, although a two-storey enclosed porch on the right side now covers two of the pilasters. There are three double entrance doors under transoms topped by pent roofs supported on brackets. The first two storeys, which are square with cutaway corners at the front, are topped by a third-storey drum with round windows and modillions. A small circular centre piece is topped with a wave pattern. The monumental exterior, which appears to have three storeys, actually conceals the large domed auditorium.

The Christian Science Church was founded in 1879 in Boston by Mary Baker Eddy and followers. Victoria’s congregation was formed in 1901 under the leadership of newly-arrived Samuel and Nancy Greenwood. In 1909-10 they built their first church home at 939 Pandora to plans by D.C. Frame. Nine years later they began construction of their present church, at the top of Harris Green.


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