The Story of the Oysterville Church
The Baptist church was built in 1892 on land donated by R.H. Espy, who also provided $1,500 for its construction. Up to that time, services had been held in private homes, and weddings and baptisms (which took place at the bay) were saved for the arrival of itinerant preachers. The church was considered "state-of-the-art" and included a three-foot-deep, zinc-lined baptismal font under the dais. For the dedication service, the women and children of the congregation filled the font with water from a pump in the yard across the street. At the conclusion of the service it was discovered that no drain had been provided; the water had to be removed in like manner by bucket brigade. Thereafter, baptisms continued to take place at the bay.
Regular Baptist services ceased in the 1930s and the church eventually reverted to the Espy family. In 1981 they arranged for its re-dedication as an ecumenical church and gifted the building and property to the Oysterville Restoration Foundation. It is now used by the community-at-large for weddings, funerals and an occasional Christmas or Easter service. For thirty years, weekly music vesper services have been held on Sunday afternoons through the summer months.
The Oysterville church is more than just the most recognizable architectural landmark of our village. Its unlocked doors allow visitors a rare reprieve from the pace of ordinary life. This is the introduction that many people have to Oysterville, and is the memory that they take home with them. Hundreds of people sign the church guest book every year-they marvel at the building, thank it for simply being here, and make a donation before moving on. The "poor box", located in the church vestibule, has long been a reliable source of revenue, helping to pay for the historic structure's ongoing maintenance.