History | Church of Scientology of Portland

A HISTORY OF THE
SHERLOCK BUILDING

Construction of the Sherlock Building began early in 1893 for Forbes & Breeden, one of the largest retail furniture businesses west of the Mississippi at the time. The project was abandoned later that year, however, when the economic Panic of 1893 struck the nation.

Irish-born Portland businessman William Sherlock subsequently acquired the property and oversaw its completion in 1894.

Through the ensuing century, a series of owners modernized much of the building’s interior to suit a variety of service and retail establishments.

Today, the Sherlock Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands as one of Portland’s most noteworthy late-19th century landmarks.

The design of the building was heavily influenced by the work of celebrated architect Louis Sullivan, known as the “father of modernism” for his melding of modern elements with the Romanesque Revival style then prevalent in America.

In that regard, the Sherlock Building is recognized as the preeminent example of Sullivanesque architecture in Oregon.

After acquiring the building, the Church of Scientology conducted meticulous renovation to preserve its history and heritage for another century. Dedicated as the home of the Church in May 2013, this Portland landmark remains a tribute to both the city’s past and its future.