In Seattle there are several prominent historic landmarks that were inspired by Mary Baker Eddy, and whose history is associated with Thanksgiving.
Originally built as Christian Science churches, these structures now serve a variety of uses. Recently I have been researching some of these buildings, who built them, why, and how. I am learning more about the branches of Mary Baker Eddy’s church, the first of which was built in Boston in 1894.
In the histories of these building projects, certain dates that are meaningful in Christian Science history tend to come up again and again as significant milestones in the Seattle branch churches: July 4, Independence Day, a day that Mary Baker Eddy chose to first advertise her new healing system back in 1868; October 30, the day Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health was published in 1875, and also the day before Reformation Day, a significant Protestant Christian holiday; and Thanksgiving, a Puritan Christian tradition now an American national holiday that is the only day a special church service is held in Mary Baker Eddy’s church.
As an example, Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, Seattle, announced its formation on July 4, 1909, held its dedication service on the Sunday before July 4, 1937, laid its building corner-stone on October 30, and first began holding services at the building during one phase of the multi-phased project the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Many other Seattle Christian Science churches either held their initial services around Thanksgiving or their dedication services. After such a focused effort by so many members over the many years, or even decades, it took to build these churches, and the astronomical costs they were able to afford, they certainly had much to be thankful for.
The church that Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, Seattle, built a century ago is now taking on new life as a venue for civics and cultural activities called Town Hall Seattle. The building is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar restoration and remodel that will ensure it continues to stand and serve a vital purpose while other buildings around it are torn down and replaced with high-rise buildings. This is certainly a lasting tribute to Mary Baker Eddy’s legacy, and something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend.
Cindy Safronoff is the author of Crossing Swords: Mary Baker Eddy vs. Victoria Claflin Woodhull and the Battle for the Soul of Marriage which is available on Amazon, by special order from your favorite local bookstore, or through public libraries, including Seattle Public Library.