Ogden's Historic Churches
Sketch of hall-parlor plan.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Relief Society Hall
Weber Stake Tabernacle
Ogden Fourth Ward
Miles Goodyear, a mountain man who hunted and trapped in northern Utah and built a small trading post (Fort Buenaventura along the banks of the Weber River), was the first person to actually settle and build a home in what is now Ogden. In 1847, Goodyear sold his holdings to Captain James Brown, who negotiated the sale of the land (along with improvements, 75 goats, 75 cattle, 12 sheep and 6 horses) to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the summer of 1850, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints laid out Ogden City (first known as Brown’s Fort, Brown’s Settlement, or most commonly, Brownsville after Captain James Brown). The first branch of the Church in Weber County was organized March 5, 1850.
The Weber Stake ecclesiastical organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized January 26, 1851. At that time the Latter-day Saints located on the old Goodyear claim were organized into two wards: the Ogden North Ward (centered on Farr's Fort/Bingham's Fort), with Erastus Bingham as bishop, and the Ogden South Ward (centered on Brown's Fort, the old Fort Buenaventura), with Isaac Clark as bishop. Ogden City officially received its charter from the State of Deseret (later Utah) on February 6, 1851. Lorin Farr was called by the Latter-day Saint leadership as president of the Weber Stake and also named mayor of the new city.
By 1908 the Weber Stake had expanded to 26 wards (up from just two in 1851) and was divided into three new stakes. Weber Stake presidents and the time periods that they served include Lorin Farr (1851-1870), Franklin D. Richards (1870-1877), David H. Peery (1877-1883), Lewis Warren Shurtleff (1883-1922), and George Browning (1922-1930).
In 1855 construction for a tabernacle was begun in Ogden to house large religious meetings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The building, located on the southeast corner of what became known as Tabernacle Square at Washington Blvd and 22nd Street, was completed and dedicated on 10 October 1869. The completed building had a capacity of 1,200. By 1896, after two and a half decades of us, it was decided to remodel the original tabernacle. The new tabernacle was the central meeting place for large services for the next half-century. (Weber County History, 166)
In 1971?______ this structure was torn down and a new tabernacle built on the north end of the square.
In 1856 the city of Ogden was divided into four Latter-day Saint church units- the Ogden 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th wards. Only one other Ogden ward was organized over the next half-century. The meeting house that is still in existence is the Ogden Fourth Ward building on 2115 Jefferson built in 1929. This is the second "real" meeting house for the ward. The first was located on the west side of Madison Ave between 21st and 22nd streets, completed and dedicated on July 28, 1889, and torn down in 1929. Before this time, the congregation met in homes or other buildings.
In 1856, Ogden City comprised two or three thousand inhabitants, living in adobe houses and supported by an agricultural economy. Then came the Wedding of the Rails - the day the Union Pacific met the Central Pacific on Promontory Summit, May 10, 1869, and the transcontinental railroad was completed. Ogden City's "...agricultural economy soon developed into a bustling frontier town swarming with adventurers, pioneer immigrants, and tourists..."
which also brought diversity to religion.
Methodist services in Ogden were begun on 28 June 1870 when a sermon was preached in the Ogden passenger depot by the Reverend G. M. Pierce. Early Methodist meeting sites included the Ogden Theater building (Grant Avenue and 24th Street, rented for $5 a Sunday), Leavitt's Hall (24th Street and Washington Blvd, rented at $18/month) and a hall located at 2364 Washington Boulevard which was purchased in 1871 for $1,200. Two church buildings were constructed on this site, with a small adobe building used first as a church. In 1889, the Washington Blvd church (and school) site was sold and new property secured at 454 24th Street. The first services were held in the new building in May 1890. This new facility served as Methodist church headquarters in the city and county until 1925 when a new church was erected at 26th and Jefferson on property purchased from the James Pingree estate."
"Episcopal services were first held in Ogden on 17 July 1870 in the waiting room of the Union Depot. The Reverend James L. Gillogly and his wife lived in a boxcar situated at the Ogden railroad yards for several months as they awaited the purchase of a site for their church."
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd located on 24th St and Grant in Ogden was completed in 1874 at a cost of $11,000. "James Hammersley of New York City paid for the construction of the church in memory of his daughter, Mrs. Catherine L. Livingston, who had died in Ogden enroute to California."
The first Roman Catholic mass in Ogden was celebrated during Christmas week in 1871 in a local home. "Father Patrick Walsh traveled from Salt Lake City to perform the first service...Other Catholic priests continued to travel to Ogden until 1878 when Father Lawrence Scanlon became the resident pastor of St. Joseph's, a wooden-frame structure built on 25th Street between Lincoln and Grant." The small, plain structure was completed for services on Easter Sunday 1877.
"By 1881 there were 150 Catholics in Ogden and the county, and by 1884 this number had grown to 400. The site for the current St. Joseph's was purchased on the northeast corner of 24th Street and Adams Avenue in 1889 and completed in 1902." Francis C. Woods of Ogden (but born in Glasgow, Scotland) was the architect. He also built a number of Ogden schools, one of which (Quincy School) is now St. Joseph Grade School. The Right Reverend Patrick Michael Cushnahan, who came to Ogden from Ireland, was the pastor of this parish from 1881-1928.
Congregationalists held services in Ogden as early as 1876. Ten Congregational communicants formed the core of the group which met for six months in Driver's Hall, a room over William Driver's drug store. For several years this small group did not have a formal organization; but, in 1884, the First Congregational Church of Ogden was formed with twelve members. By 1895 membership had grown to 137 people. A second Congregational church group was organized in 1884 at Lynne (Five Points) and remained in operation until 1918.
Presbyterian worship in Ogden began in 1878 under the direction of the Reverend G. W. Gallagher. During the 1880s services were held in a building at Lincoln and 24th Street. A new building was completed in 1905 (dedicated 20 March) on the corner of 24th and Adams at a cost of $30,000. The Rev. John Edward Carver served as pastor of Ogden's Presbyterian Church for more than three decades, beginning as pastor in 1900, and he also served as chair of the Ogden Carnegie Free Library Board for twenty-nine years.
"As the years rolled by and the church continued to grow, the members decided to build the current building on the corner of 28th and Quincy and dedicated that building on June 19, 1955, where it stands to this day." (fpcogden.org)
The Central Park Presbyterian Mission was organized with a membership of 62 on 11 January 1890 by F.W. Hastings and Charles May in the public school building on 29th Street.
The first permanent Baptist organization in Utah began in 1881 when the Reverend Dwight Spencer attended the organizational meeting held on 22 May 1881 in the Odd Fellow's Hall. Twelve Baptists were in attendance; immediately after, four additional members were received by statements of their Christian experience and the first baptism occurred on Sunday, July 10, 1881, when a young lady was baptized in the Weber River. A church was built at Grant Avenue and 24th Street for $10,000 to accommodate the growing congregation. In 1915 the membership of the Baptist church in Ogden was 350 people. The church continued to prosper and eventually felt the need for a larger facility. In 1919 the present site at 25th Street and Jefferson Avenue was purchased and an "ambitious building program" started. A new church building was constructed for the congregation. The old church was vacated in 1923 and the congregation met in the partially complete new building until the spring of 1926 when the building was finally completed.
A Baptist mission church was organized in 1883, with the first services being held on Wilson Lane in Weber County. This church remained in operation until 1905.
During 1888 Lutheran services were held at the home of Mrs. Hannah Lund at Five Points, and in October of that year Frans August Linder organized the Elim Lutheran Church in Weber County. In 1889 a building lot was purchased at 575 23rd Street and a frame structure with gothic-type windows was constructed on the property and dedicated in January 1890. The Elim Lutheran Church was authorized under the sanction of the Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod of North America, and the Reverend Rans August Linder served as clergyman from 1888-1891.
The Jewish congregation Brith Sholem began in 1890 as Ohab Sholem in Ben Oppman's clothing store at 352 25th Street. In 1921 a red brick synagogue with an oval roof was erected at 2756 Grant Avenue. By April 1939 the congregation had increased to 20 members.
Christian Science missionaries organized the First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Ogden in 1892; regular services were begun during 1895, at which time the church had 18 members. A Christan Science church building was constructed during 1914-1915 on the northwest corner of Monroe Avenue and 24th Street at a cost of $15,000.
"A branch of the Greek Orthodox Holy Trinity Church was organized in Ogden in 1905 by Parthenios Lemberopulos, a priest of the Salt Lake City church. Meetings were held in the Church of the Good Shepherd from 1905 until 1936." The official charter for a non-profit organization was registered in 1955 with the State of Utah. The Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church of Ogden, Utah broke ground for their church building in July 1963 and on October 18, 1964, parishioners witnessed Fr. Spyros Diavatis performing the Divine Liturgy for the first time in their own city. (Parish History | Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church (goarch.org))
The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church was organized on 20 May 1908 with J.C. Owens as presiding elder. The first meetings were convened in a store building on Washington Boulevard. The Embry Chapel at 2817 Pingree Avenue was constructed and dedicated in 1913. B. F. McCully served as the first pastor of the church from 1910-1912; J. H. Brown was the second pastor, serving from 1913-1914.
The International Bible Students' association was formed in Ogden in 1909, the first services being held in the homes of members of the International Bible Society until a small store building was obtained at 2701 Lincoln Avenue. In 1929 the name of the national organization was changed to Jehovah's Witness. J.T.M. Kingsford was the director of this group in the Weber County area during the first two decades of its existence.
Built in 1912 by the German Evangelical Synod of North America, St. Paul's Evangelical Church of Ogden served the community until the early 1920s. The treatment of Germans during World War I and the arrest of Rev. Leesman (he was later acquitted) while carrying a letter from a parishioner in Salt Lake to a German prisoner at Fort Douglas contributed to the pastor leaving Ogden and the disintegration of the St. Paul congregation.
In 1927, the vacant building was purchased by the local Japanese Christian fellowship and becoming home to the newly formed Japanese Union Church. This Fellowship first met in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church, then the Kariya store on 24th and Grant before moving to a second-story room across from the Post Office. Their last home before purchasing the building was at the old First Baptist Church building on Grant Avenue near 24th street before it was demolished for additions to the post office.
The Japanese Union Church later incorporated as Ogden Japanese Christian Church (1965-2015) and then Ogden Christian Church (2015-2022). The Iglesia Cristiana Evangelica Bethel Church (incorporated in 2011) also meets in this building.
Japanese residents organized the Ogden Buddhist Temple in 1913. Early church meetings were held at 236 24th Street, at 2430 Lincoln, and at 225 Capitol until 1937. In May 1937 a Buddhist temple building at 2456 Lincoln began to be used. C. Kiwahara served from 1913-1916 as the first Buddhist priest, and he was followed by Manzoe Ishimuri, who served from 1916-1920.
In 1916 the Wall Avenue Baptist Church was organized. A building which seated about 100 people was dedicated for this congregation in 1919 located at 1701 Wall Avenue. A. J. Billingsly served from 1917-1919 as the first pastor of the Wall Avenue Baptist Church, followed by J.L. Marque from 1919-1920. Later this church became New Zion Baptist Church with a new building built at _______ in 1954.
St. Joseph's Catholic
First Congregationalist Church
First Baptist Church
Elim Lutheran Church
Congregation Brith Sholem
First Church of Christ, Scientist
Greek Orthodox Holy Trinity
St. Paul's Evangelical Church
African Methodist Episcopal (Embry Chapel)
International Bible Students' Association (Jehovah's Witness)
First Presbyterian Church
 Thomas Carter and Peter Goss, Utah’s Historic Architecture, 1847-1940, Utah State Historical Society, 1988, p.14.
Dorothy Sherner and Laura ShernerWelker, Mary Elizabeth- Her Stories, manuscript, 1933, p.38.
 Fred N. Stone, A Reminiscent History of the Lynne Ward, 1934, manuscript, p. 2.
 Editor Milton R.Hunter, Beneath Ben Lomond’s Peak, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1944, p. 139.
 Sherner and Welker, Mary Elizabeth-Her Stories, p. 2.
 Richard C. Roberts and Richard W. Sadler, A History of Weber County, 1997, Utah State Historical Society and Weber County Commission, p. 133, 134; Jay G. Burrup, Church History Specialist, LDS Church History Library, letter, 9-15-10.
 Interview Edna Kent Stone by Macel Stone Montgomery, manuscript, c. 1965; Dixie Summers Botsford, A Short History of Arthur W. Stone and Sarah Ann Yeaman, manuscript, p.2.
 The Lemon Survey shows that this farm was composed of two free land claims of 20 acres each that were first claimed by Erastus Bingham in 1851.
 Standard Examiner, Bingham’s Fort, Built To Guard Against Indians, Is Remembered By Subscriber, George Pierce, 1934.
 Interview with Marjorie James, March 21, 2007.