We see our historic 40,000 square foot facility as a tremendous asset not only to our congregation but also to our community. Our forbearers built a building larger than they could fill in anticipation of the future. Today, our facility has become a cornerstone in the downtown neighborhood and a sought after venue. Besides the programs of the Urban Grace congregation, we open our doors to thousands of people each year as they attend concerts, meetings, and dance classes. We currently house over fifteen nonprofits and arts organizations as well as individual artists and therapists for office space or regular usage.
In alignment with our values, we partner with groups or individuals working in education/advocacy, the arts, social services, and/or worship. We recognize that our historic building is not simply a place where events happen or people work, but it is an integral part of who we are and the legacy we are privileged to continue. Urban Grace is committed to not only preserving our church building, but improving its facilities so that the broader community may benefit into the future. Those before us chose to build, maintain, and uphold a building that was both physically and figuratively bigger than its people in order to serve their community for the long-term. We seek to graciously do the same. ... Learn More About Our Historic Building
First Baptist Church incorporated with ten members on March 28, 1883. The Tacoma Land Company donated the original two lots to the congregation. A year later, on March 16, 1884, the first building was dedicated on the current site. The young congregation grew quickly, and by 1891 made plans for a greatly enlarged church. Construction on the “new” building began in 1892.
By 1921, First Baptist had again outgrown their building. The congregation started a capital fundraising campaign for a newer, larger home. The architectural firm of Heath, Gove, and Bell was contracted to design the structure. While original newspaper images show a large, ornate Greek Revival building, the finalized design was a subdued Gothic Revival styled structure. The original edifice was designed with glazed terracotta facing, a more inexpensive building material than the cut stone typically used for Gothic Revival structures. However, early in the construction process, Robert Walker, owner of the Walker Cut Stone Company, made arrangements for the purchase of cut stone below market rates.
The current structure has an auditorium which seats 850 and a banquet hall with a stage. The building was never intended to serve only as a religious space; it was designed to accommodate a variety of activities to better serve the community from the very beginning.