Calvary Baptist Church

The dusty town of Spokane Falls, Washington Territory was booming with railroads, timber and mining in the late 19th century and black settlers came looking for new opportunities and a place to call their own. One settler, Rev. Peter Barrow, who was born a slave in 1840, helped found Calvary Baptist Church in 1890.

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Image One Photo Archive The Spokesman-Review Image Two Christopher Anderson The Spokesman-Review

The dusty town of Spokane Falls, Washington Territory was booming with railroads, timber and mining in the late 19th century and black settlers came looking for new opportunities and a place to call their own. One settler, Rev. Peter Barrow, who was born a slave in 1840, helped found Calvary Baptist Church in 1890. It was Spokane’s first black church and they started meeting at Pines and Fourth St. and a series of other buildings before settling in a wooden church at 213 E. Third. In 1919, the tiny congregation called Rev. Emmett B. Reed, who quickly advocated building a new brick church on the corner of Cowley and Third St. Construction was underway as the Great Depression hit, but the tiny congregation persevered, finishing the church and paying it off by 1939. The sturdy edifice became a hub of activity in the African-American community. The local NAACP chapter, which Reed helped organize in 1923, met there. The church built a neat little parsonage beween the old and new churches for Pastor Reed in 1944. Reed was known, according to historian Janet Hauck, for visiting Spokane stores and restaurants that posted “No Colored Patronage Solicited” signs and demanding removal of the signs. He led the congregaton until his death in 1961.


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