Abandoned Building: Old Grass Valley Methodist Church, Oregon

Old Methodist Church in Grass Valley, Oregon

This summer we drove to Portland to see Dead and Company at the Moda Center on a Friday night. The next day, we drove to Washington to see Dead and Company at The Gorge Amphitheater on Saturday night. Then on Sunday we drove 15 hours back home to Rocklin, California because of an important Monday morning meeting that couldn’t be rescheduled.

The drive was brutal, but thankfully there were a lot of interesting things and gorgeous views to see along the way. In the early afternoon, while driving through Oregon, with the kids asleep and the music on low, I looked out my window and screamed “WOAH!” I pretty much scared everyone to death, waking up both kids, and startling the heck out of Brian… but all I could think of was checking out this gorgeous old church I saw right off Highway 97.

Brian didn’t really want to stop because we had a long way to go still, but he was a good sport and pulled off the highway so I could check it out. While the family waited in the car, I jumped out and walked over to the old, abandoned church to get a closer look.

Sitting there, empty and abandoned under the blazing summer sun, the old church, with its white paint peeling off, was just spectacular.

If I hadn’t been wearing shorts and flip flops, I would have tried going inside, or walking around the back, but these old buildings, as cool as they are, also freak me out because there could be snakes or other animals inside. And yes, I guess, I was trespassing. But it was worth it.

Old Methodist Church in Grass Valley, Oregon

I really wanted to learn more about this old wood-frame building that is now a windowless shell, so as soon as we were somewhere with a decent wifi signal, I hit Google to find some information. There are a ton of photos of this abandoned church online, in fact, it is considered to be the most photographed buildings in Sherman County, Oregon. (Not surprising.) But while there is a lot of photos, there isn’t very much information, and I’m not the first person to look into the building’s history.

Dan Earl created the Old Methodist Church website to document the history of the Grass Valley Methodist Church as he uncovers it. So far, the only information he has includes:

  • Grass Valley Methodist Church was built possibly the 1880s into the early 1900s and was a centerpiece to the city of Grass Valley into the 1950s.
  • Church services were held in the church up until 1946 or 47. But in speaking with Pastor Keeney, of the First Baptist Church that sits across the street from the Grass Valley church, the last services held were only 4-5 years ago when he married a local couple in the old building.
  • There were 74 funerals held at the church from 1903 to 1930.

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