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.
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."
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.
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, and by 1906 a new building was completed 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.
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 Reverend Dwight Spencer was Ogden's first Baptist minister and he attended the organizational meeting held on 22 May 1881 with 13 members in attendance in the Odd Fellow's Hall. A church was built at Grant Avenue and 25th Street for $10,000 to accomodate the growing congregation. Early Baptist baptisms were performed in the Weber River. In 1915 the membership of the Baptist church in Ogden was 350 people, and a new church building was constructed for the congregation at 2519 Jefferson in 1925.
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 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 Jehovah's Witnesses organization 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.
St. Paul's Evangelical Church was built by the German Evangelical Synod of North America in 1912. Services were held there up until 1920 when the building was left vacant. In 1927 it was purchased by the local Japanese Christian Fellowship, becoming home to the Japanese Union Church. The congregation later incorporated as Ogden Japanese Christian Church, then Ogden Christian Church.
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 2935 Lincoln Avenue in 1954.
Below is the outline from a presentation given by Deniane Kartchner, WCHF's Preservation Photographer, at the Golden Hours Senior Center on 30 Mar 2022. We are so excited to work on this project in more detail in the coming months! Click on the galleries link above to look at photos. A special thanks to the religious organizations we have been able to contact so far!