Find your way to the old campground where the large white canvas tabernacle stood.
The specific location could not always be found, so some sites are only
identified by the district in which they were located.
The map gives only a general location of where the campground was
located; it is for prospective only. From top to bottom:
Kenton, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918.
Rose City, 1919.
Mt Tabor, 1908.
11th and Division, 1911.
12th and Division, 1907.
18th and Holgate, 1912.
52nd and Duke, 1920 'til present.
Fulton, 1910, 1913.
Before word of the Azusa Street revival reached Portland in 1906, there was a
small black church downtown in an old converted blacksmith shop and they held
camp meetings each summer at SE 12th and Division Street. Their Pastor was
John Glassco. Don't look for the exact location of the old converted
blacksmith shop/church at 215 2nd Ave unless you have a very old map. That area
has long ago been renumbered, so 2nd and Main Street is the best we can do.
Learning about the revival at Azusa, many church people opposed the new teaching
about the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, but not Pastor Glassco. When he learned
about it he said we should be seeking the experience instead of debating the
M.L. Ryan, pastor of a Salem, Oregon church, invited Sister Florence Crawford of
the Azusa Mission in Los Angeles to come hold special meetings at his church.
She did. Pastor Glassco's wife and children hopped on the train in Portland and
headed for Ryan's Salem church to hear her. Tuesday, Christmas Day 1906, Sister
Glassco and her children returned home victoriously, having received the Promised
Pentecostal power, but before leaving Salem she invited Sister Crawford to come
to their church in the old blacksmith shop for special meetings. She did. She
came on Saturday, December 29, 1906. (These dates become confused sometimes
because when telling of Sister Glassco's return, Sister Crawford said, "We had
planned to come on Saturday and this was Tuesday.") After about two weeks in
Portland, Sister Crawford returned home to Los Angeles.
The revival in Portland had been so very successful that Sister Crawford
decided to return to Portland and help in the camp meeting in 1907. She did, but
she returned home to Los Angeles before the close of the 1907 camp meeting. So
why all these details? Well, if we are trying to find out when the first camp
meeting was held by the Apostolic Faith in Portland, we could choose either this
one in 1907 when Sister Crawford was here for most of the camp meeting, but lived
in Los Angeles, or the one in 1908 after she had moved to Portland that January
and accepted the keys to the church. Incidentally, someone inquired what
happened to Pastor Glassco afterwards. The answer given by one who moved here in
1910 was that they heard him preach at the 1910 camp meeting.
To me, 1908 was the first AF camp meeting, but I think it is me against the rest
of the world, so to make my numbers match those of everyone else when referring
to the camp meetings, I will switch sides, but only temporarily.
The following information is mostly taken from a history by Elsie Ott who was
at the small church at 2nd and Main Street during Sister Crawford's first visit.
In the early days campgrounds were used 'by permission' so each year they had to
go looking for an available place for that year.
1907: 12th and SE Division; same location as previously used by Pastor John Glassco. After camp meeting the church moved from the small quarters on 2nd and Main to larger quarters at 1st and Madison.
1908: Mt Tabor; up the hill from 60th and Belmont. Exact location not known. During camp meeting they renovated the second floor hall above commercial property at Front and Burnside Street. This new church location was ready for move-in on the first of October 1908
1909: Montavilla District; Exact location not known. The baptismal service was on Swan Island that year. During camp meeting they rented the adjacent second floor hall on Front Street and removed the foot-thick firewall between them thus doubling the size of the church to 50 by 90 feet on Front and Burnside. The church faced Front Street on the west with Burnside Street on its north side.
1910: Fulton; on the west bank of the Willamette River. Here is a history note about that location, "Our camp meeting in 1913 was held at Fulton again, the same place we had in 1910. The river was high this year, and had not gone down yet when it was time to start camp meeting. As the water was up over the place where we wanted to place the canvass tabernacle, we secured a spot above the railroad track for the tabernacle." This is guesswork, but the only location I could find that fit the description is now named Willamette Park. It is just south of Ross Island.
1911: 11th and SE Division. This was near the campground used in 1907 except that one was wooded and this one was not. It was hot with no shade.
1912: 18th and SE Holgate.
1913: Fulton; see number 4 foregoing.
1914: Alberta district; Northeast Portland. Exact location not known.
1915: Kenton District; the Kenton area is west from where N Denver Avenue and N Interstate Avenue merge before crossing N Columbia Blvd. The exact location of the campground is not known.
1916: Kenton; see number 9 foregoing.
1917: Kenton; see number 9 foregoing. 136 people received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost during this camp meeting.
1918: Kenton; see number 9 foregoing. Due to the prices and availability of canvas during World War I it was less expensive to build a temporary wooden tabernacle than buy a new, larger canvas tent that was needed.
1919: Rose City; the campground was on the "Rose City car-line at 59th Street."
1920: Woodstock; SE 52nd and Duke. A barge, Bluebird, was chartered to transport our people to Swan Island for the water baptismal service. 219 were water baptized. This was the last year a tabernacle was used for camp meeting. Although it sounds strange to us, a tabernacle is a temporary abode without a foundation. Abraham dwelt in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise, for he looked for a city which has foundations. After the 1920 camp meeting, cement foundations were poured and pillars set upon them for the building which still is used, but no one can make us stop calling that building with foundations, a tabernacle. To us it will always be "the tabernacle."
1921: Woodstock; a permanent campground with a permanent building, one with a foundation. Eighteen feet of space was added on each side of the ‘tabernacle’ in the spring of 1939 by building the ‘wings,’ the area outside the columns on either side. Following camp meeting in 1947, a further enlargement of the tabernacle was made by extending the back wall sixty feet farther back. This extension was of the main (original) building, but did not include the area under the wings.