First Christian Church
photo from Our Oakland

The First Christian Church is in a striking building at 111 Fairmount Avenue. It was designed by noted architect W.H. Weeks in 1928.

1931 11950 Sanborn excerpt

The congregation dates back to the 1870s, when they met at the Odd Fellows' Hall. Benjamin W. Reagan of silver mine fame constructed a building for the church at 15th and Clay. Reagan died before deeding the building to the church, and rather than purchase the building, the congregation opted to build a new building closer to where most of the congregation lived. From 1884 to 1897, the church was at the southeast corner of 13th and Market. Rev. Dr. Porter was the first pastor. c.1889 Rev. George W. Sweeney was the pastor. 2

1889 Sanborn excerpt

In 1900, the church was at 1065 West Street, just south of 12th Street. (The 1889 Sanborn shows that as the first Universalist Church.)

1902 Sanborn excerpt

c.1905, the church met at Hamilton Hall at 13th and Jefferson.

In 1910, they laid the cornerstone for a new building on the southeast corner of Webster and Grand. 3

1911 Sanborn excerpt

Links and References

  1. ohrphoto.oaklandchurches.012.jpg Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  2. Before the Cross Oakland Tribune March 13, 1897
  3. Cornerstone to Be Laid Tomorrow Oakland Tribune May 7, 1910


NOTE:  To all those visiting this page, please feel free to add comments, columns, notes, interesting facts, or make any corrections! This is in chronological order.  Adding information as it is discovered.  Improving the formatting, but for now focusing on the information. 

Directions: Simply click on Edit, add your information with dates or approximates dates,insert in date order, note the change and click "save changes." It's that easy. You can make changes at any time. Thank you!! for any and all contributions. 

History of First Christian Church

29th and Fairmont

Last Service First Christian Church

Grand Ave and Webster

Oakland Tribune

April 6, 1929

Dr. W. Paul Reagor to Be Installed As New Minister

New Dedication of First Christian Church Slated for April 14, 1929

29th and Fairmont

Oakland Tribune

April 13-14, 1929

Christian Church To Dedicate Organ

Oakland Tribune

April 16, 1929

Dedication of the new organ will feature services at the First Christian Church tonight, marking the second night’s celebration of a week of rejoicing following the formal opening of the new church last Sunday. 

W B. Kennedy, organist of the First Presbyterian Church, assisted by Ruth Hall Crandall, contralto soloist of the First Baptist church, and Orley See, first violinist of the San Francisco Symphony orchestra, will give an organ recital.


Services Fete Complete New Church Home

Week’s Celebration to Honor $250,000 Christian Plant’s Completion

Oakland Tribune

April 15, 1929

Dr. Harvey O. Breeden, (top) who preached his final sermon as active pastor of the First Christian Church yesterday, and Dr. W. Paul Reagor, new minister.

Beginning week of celebration in honor of the completion of the new church plant at Fairmount  avenue and Twenty-ninth street, which was dedicated yesterday, the First Christian church will observe "Peace Night" this evening.  

Dr. H. H. Guy Witt speak on "World Peace. Felicitation will he brought by the following Christian church ministers of the East-bays:  Rev. Robert McHattan, Earl N. Griggs, Herbert F. Shaw, Galen Lee Rose, Alden Webb, Roscoe Smith, O. W. Tabor, Lon W. Chamblee and Frank Ford.

Yesterday's dedicatory services taxed the capacity of the new auditorium. At the morning hour Dr. Harvey O. Breeden preached the dedicatory sermon and his valedictory address as active minister of the church. After 51 years in the ministry, Dr. Breeden retires to become pastor emeritus, succeeded by Dr. W. Paul Reagor, who for ten years was pastor of First church, Tacoma.

OTHER SERVICES   At 8 o’clock service of thanksgiving and felicitation was held. Greetings were brought by Dr. Edgar A. Lowther, president of the Oakland Council of Churches: Rabbi Rudolph L. Coffee and former pastors of the church.

Dr. Reagor, the new minister, preached at last night’s service of evangelism. Hi subject was "A Vision of Service."

Tomorrow night the new organ will be dedicated with an organ recital by W. B. Kennedy, organist of the First Presbyterian church, assisted by Miss Ruth Hall Crandall contralto soloist, and Orley See, first Violinist, San Francisco Symphony orchestra. Education night will be observed Wednesday with a banquet at Fellowship hall. Dr. W.  C. Pierce will speak on "Religious Education."

CHURCH COST $250,000  "The Messiah" will be sung by a choir of 70 singers under the direction of Dr. O. S. Dean Thursday night. The week's observance will close Friday night with the dedication of Fellowship hall. "The Foot of the Rainbow” a drama, will be given by Thespians Guild of the church.

The new church, erected at a cost of $250,000, is of Spanish-Colonial design. Dominating the structure is a replica of the famous cathedral tower at Pueblo, Mexico. The auditorium is of full cathedral height and seats 900 persons.

Christ Needed by Whole World Says Minister

Oakland Tribune

May 6, 1929  -  Dr. Reagor

 "The Nineteenth century was the age of intellectual doubt. It was the age when science was first attracting the attention of men and at first there appeared to be a dire divergence between the world of science and the world of faith,” said Dr. W, Paul Reagor at the First Christian church last night, preaching on the subject "Is Christianity Possible?" He said in part:

"That age is past. We have moved into another world today. The old assumptions have been blasted. Possibly the assumption which is assailed more than all the rest is that we are Christians. Since the war we know that we are not as good Christians as we ought to be. It is presumptuous to call ourselves a Christian nation. We are part Christian, it is true, but as well we are part pagan, and lite has become terrifically complex; therefore a more pressing question for this age is this: 'Is Christianity possible?' In the face of conditions of modern life and the circumstances under which we live, is the practice of the Christian life a vain and empty dream after 1900 years of trial and struggle? We face the fact that it is as seemingly far away from this goal as it was in the first century.

“We have lived much these last few years and among other things I've known not that a man can be highly skilled, keenly intelligent and of splendid ability, but unless that life is harnessed to some devout and noble purpose he may diabolically destroy the finest, heritage of the race. This then is the conclusion, that Christianity is not only possible but that it is necessary to this very life of the world. It is the grimmest necessity of our common human existence today. It is either Christianity or chaos. It is possible for chaos to come again. Only a vital Christian faith can save us from that. The whole heart of man must be moralized and spiritualized. Christian faith lives for that purpose. What man must do he can do and will eventually be glad to do.” END

DR. Breeden Pastor for 51 Years is Dead

Oakland Tribune

January 26, 1933

Minister in Christian Faith For Half Century Succumbs After Long Illness

Dr. Harvey O. Breeden, 76, pioneer minister, who devoted 51 years of his life to the church pulpit, died today at his home 606 Vernon street, following an illness of 2 years.  He had been confined to his bed for several months.

Dr. Breeden gave up the pulpit of First Christian Church of Oakland on Easter Sunday, 1929.  He served as pastor of the church for seven years, and for one year after his withdrawal, was pastor of the Mills Terrace Christian Church in East Oakland. During his long career, Dr. Breeden achieved an eminent position in the Christian Church in America. He served 22 years in the pulpit of the Christian Church at Des Moines, Iowa, which was the largest church of that faith in the United States.

After leaving Des Moines, he conducted evangelistic meetings in Christian Churches throughout the country for three or four years, and then went to Fresno, serving in the pulpit there for 12 years before transferring to Oakland. While in Des Moines, Dr. Breeden served as a member of the board of directors of Drake University, an institution for the Disciple of Christ. Dr. Breeden is survived 'by his widow, Mrs. Florence M. Breeden, and a son, Bernard M. Breeden. He was born in Illinois on April 18, 1857. He attended Abbingdon College and received degrees of A. B. and A. M. from Eureka College. Drake University conferred the LL.D degree on him in 1890. The pastor's funeral will be held Saturday at 2 p. m. at the First Christian Church at Twenty-ninth Street and Fairmont Avenue.

His body is at the Truman Company, 2935 Telegraph Avenue.  END

Dean Weigle is Coming

Oakland Tribune

January 12, 1935

Dean Lurther A. Weigle of the Yale Divinity School will be a visitor to the Eastbay late this month. He will give an address at a luncheon meeting of the Eastbay ministers and laymen at the First Christian Church, January 25, at 12:15 o'clock. END

Youth to Be discussed by Pastor Reagor

Oakland Tribune

July 8, 1935

Technical High School’s A Capella Choir to Be Featured at Night Hour

At the First Christian Church tomorrow evening the A Capella Choir of the Technical High School will provide a special program of music. The pastor, Dr. W. Paul Reagor, will preach a special sermon to young people on the theme "Youth in a World of Chaos."

"These are days when young people are seeking earnestly to find themselves, and religion offers an opportunity and an interpretation for life for such days as these which cannot be ignored by thoughtful young people who are anxious to make their lives count for the most,” says the pastor.

At the morning hour of worship Dr. Reagor will preach on the theme "Does God Want Me." He says: "One of the tendencies of our day is to think less of ourselves than we ought to think. Almost the entire emphasis of our modern mechanistic age is to lessen the value and the significance of human personality. Multitudes of people have gone upon the rocks at this particular point, and many more have come to the conclusion that there is nothing that they can do as individuals, which counts for very much."

The church school observes its promotion day exercises tomorrow morning. Twice a year, in January and June, following the custom of the public schools, the school of Christian education sends on to a higher grade, those who have done creditable work in the field in which they have been studying. END

Hammond Weeks

Architect of First Christian Church

Oakland Tribune

January 14, 1950

Hammond Weeks : Private funeral services were held yesterday for Hammond Weeks, retired architect, who died Thursday at a local hospital.  Mr. Weeks, who lived at 5659 Chabot  Drive, planned the First Christian Church, 29th Street and Fairmont Avenue among other edifices in this area. The widower of the Mrs. Dagmar F. Weeks, he is survived by three children, Mrs. Mertyle W. Schmidts, Mrs. Jean Elizabeth Clark and Richard Weeks, and five grandchildren, Bonnie Cook, Gwendolyn Armstrong, Richard and John Weeks and Jean Clark. The Albert Brown Mortuary was in charge of services. END

FCC March 22, 1951FCC March 22, 1951 22 Mar 1951, Thu Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California)


FCC Gladson robbery
FCC Gladson robbery 16 Dec 1951, Sun Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California)

FCC HolroydsFCC Holroyds 21 May 1950, Sun Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California)

FCC Rev West PicFCC Rev West Pic 16 Apr 1950, Sun Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California)