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First Church of Christ, Scientist (First Christian Science Church)

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1886. Main St. at Chicago St.
  • (Photograph by Den Adler, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

This church was the first house of worship in the United States built specifically for Christian Scientists. After Mary Baker Eddy established the sect in 1879, it gained an early foothold in the bustling port city of Oconto, with its diverse population and ready exposure to outside influences. The members of Oconto’s newly organized Christian Science society, led by the Reverend J. P. Norcross (later the first pastor of Eddy’s “Mother Church” in Boston), erected this wooden structure. Eddy considered it a frontier mission for spreading the faith to the newly settled Northwoods region. The Carpenter Gothic church’s board-and-batten walls and pointed-arch windows are enriched by latticework in the gable apex and foliated carving on the lintel above the double-door entrance. A diminutive gable-roofed bell-cote rises from the roof ridge. In the early twentieth century, the congregation added a raised basement of rock-faced concrete block. The church’s well-preserved interior is simple, with three sections of wooden seats separated by two aisles. Two lecterns stand at the front of the room: one for the Scriptures and one for Eddy’s writings.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "First Church of Christ, Scientist (First Christian Science Church)", [Oconto, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 321-322.

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