National Register of Historic Places in Alameda County

National Register #77000284: First Unitarian Church of Oakland 11 July 2014
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National Register #77000284
First Unitarian Church of Oakland
685 14th Street
Completed 1891

The First Unitarian Church of Oakland was designed by future Oakland City Architect Walter J. Mathews in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. It is one of the earliest examples of this architectural style on the West Coast.

With the exception of the stained glass windows, only materials from California were used in the original construction. The redwood arches were built of first growth redwood harvested from the Oakland/Berkeley hills. These redwood arches formed the widest span in any building west of the Mississippi.

The general contractor was Peter N. Remillard, whose family name can still be seen on some of the almost 100,000 bricks used in this building. Sandstone, marble, granite, terra cotta, plaster, hardware, lumber and slate were quarried, manufactured or timbered in California.

The marble pillars at the front of the sanctuary, twelve feet high and thirty inches in diameter, are thought to be the largest single blocks of marble ever quarried in California. They were purchased with a gift from Mrs. William Norris, the widow of Thomas Starr King.

Adapted from the website of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland: "Spiritually Alive, Radically Inclusive, Justice Centered"

The First Unitarian Church of Oakland is also California Historical Landmark 896.

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