Our first house in Portland was at the corner of SE 29th and Pine Street. One block up the hill stands a building that was clearly built as a small church…. steeply peaked roof, one main room, high pitched ceiling. It seemed deserted, with no one going in or out, the only lights coming on with timers.
We wondered about this little church. Who had built it? How old was it? Who owned it now and what were their plans for it?
Well, yesterday, we got some (only some) of our questions answered. Auntie Bridgett was walking home from the SideStreet Arts Gallery and sent me a text. “The little church is open! Wanna come?” Of course I did!
Outside, I found a sign advertising an Eclectica Sale. Inside, I found Auntie Bridgett chatting with artist Catherine Rondthaler. She told us what she knew about the church, and it goes like this.
Up until five years ago, she says, it was an operational church, although Catherine doesn’t know what it was called. The attendance at the church was dwindling, and the building was sold. The young man who bought it planned, with his girlfriend, to refurbish the building as a home and live there. But the relationship fell apart and he lost interest. He is out of town a great deal and was having trouble getting anything done.
Catherine stepped up, volunteering to get the building to a point where it could be used for community events, but in the meantime, using it as a studio. Towards those ends, she is selling lots of delightful trinkets she has collected over the years, as well as some of her prints and other folks’ paintings.
We found all sorts of little things for Christmas stockings, and while I was taking photos, Auntie Bridgett found my prize! A vintage top hat that folds flat and springs up when you hit the brim, just like in the old movies! It fit me perfectly and…well, let’s just say it came home with us! She also found a wonderful orange briefcase for herself, into which we put all our treasures.
We walked home to rest up for our next adventure. More about that tomorrow.