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[photo]
Oregon Cabaret Theatre presents musical and dinner-theater productions
Photograph by Terry Skibby

The First Baptist Church is a prime example of Ashland's historical and cultural development. The church was built with funds contributed by the local congregation as well as donations from citizens from other religious affiliations. Constructed in 1911, the church was ornamented with many beautiful stained glass windows. Believed to be the work of leading local architect Frank Clark, it was built in the Mission Revival Style, unusual for Oregon church architecture. Clark designed several Ashland residences using this and other styles found more commonly in Southern California at the turn of the 20th century.

[photo]
Historic image of the Mission Revival style First Baptist Church, date unknown
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection

A schism occurred within the congregation in 1924 when some members became followers of evangelist Amy Semple McPherson, and years of internal discord followed. After the congregation left in the 1960s, the building became very dilapidated; purchased by the owner of the Mark Antony Hotel (Ashland Springs Hotel) in the 1970s, it was in complete disrepair by the late 1980s. In what has become a prevalent theme of Ashland's history, a new owner purchased the building (at a bank auction) and restored it. Now known as the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, the building houses a very successful company that produces musical and dinner-theater productions throughout the year. The building's basement, which once housed the Sunday School, is now the site of a popular restaurant.

The First Baptist Church is located at 241 Hagardine St. The Oregon Cabaret Theatre is open for theatrical productions; please call 541-488-2902 or visit their website for further information. The Primavera restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday-Sunday.

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