Established in 1873
Here is a copy of a photo of New Era Church in 1909 that we obtained from the Canby Historical Society. New Era Church was known as New Era Spiritualist camp during that time because it was open during the summer for people to attend church services, picnics, and stay in tents on the grounds when the hotel was full.
We love the clothes and hats that were worn then as you can see in the photo. We thank Canby Historical society for letting us have a copy of the photo and allowing us to post it on our website. The staff at Canby Historical society are very nice and helpful in assisting with research of history.
The church was established in 1873, the first Spiritualist church in the United States, and is reported to be the oldest Spiritualist church in the world. It started out with pioneers from the eastern part of the United States who traveled to Oregon and purchased the property reportedly for $100. The property has about five acres of land. It has several buildings including the historic hotel and the chapel.
In the beginning the pioneers pitched tents and held church services in tents until they could construct buildings. The neighbors brought their wagons drawn by horses and oxen to attend services. It was also known as Camp New Era because of the lack of buildings--people stayed in their wagons or pitched tents.
The smaller building to the left used to be called the snack bar. The large building in the middle is the historic hotel and next to it is the arts and crafts cabin. The next photo is of the historic hotel.
One of the first buildings to be built was the historic hotel. Ministers, mediums, and other guest speakers from churches in Portland and Salem as well as visitors from different parts of the United States came to speak in the church and to visit and many of them stayed in the hotel. The historic hotel-- no longer an operational hotel-- is a twenty-room building. It began as a crude, dirt-floor, one-story building. The building was used and is still used for classes, and church services and fellowship gatherings.
By 1890 doors and windows were added. In 1904 running water was installed. The building received electricity in 1924. An annex to the hotel was constructed to house a kitchen and additional sleeping rooms.
The chapel was built in 1938. We use it today for church services and classes. We have had a continuous history of church services and events since 1873. During World War I and after there were many activities at the church grounds, including church services, classes, seminars, benefit for the Red Cross, benefit for the New Era school, musical presentations, lunches, dinners, weddings, christening, memorial services, and fellowship gatherings. Many people attended during World War I and after the war. We have historic photos of the many of the people who attended and copies of historic documents that tell of many of the events.
The above photo is of the chapel at New Era Church. Church services and seminars are held in this building as well as the historic hotel. The chapel was built in 1938.