Community Efforts Help Restore Historic St. Peter’s Church in Echo

Echo Church
An open house is set for Sunday for Echo's historic St. Peter's Church. (Photo: Echo Kiwanis)

The Fort Henrietta Foundation and Echo Kiwanis will host a St. Peter’s Church Open House on Sunday, Oct. 1 to celebrate the work done on the historic building.

Tours are to be offered by Diane Berry, secretary of Fort Henrietta Foundation, with assistance from Kiwanis volunteers.

“All are welcome,” said Mike Duffy of Echo Kiwanis. “We want to open the Church to see, hear your stories and we want to talk about what is to be done with St Peter’s. It’s truly a local treasure. ”


In 1913 local residents celebrated a new church in Echo – a Catholic Missionary Church called St. Peter’s. Echo’s predominantly Portuguese Catholic community enjoyed several generations there until about 20 years ago when the Baker Diocese gifted the church building to a local non-profit known as Fort Henrietta Foundation.

There was not staff or money to keep a small congregation active out at Echo. The church building was to become a museum. Today the old St Peter’s Church remains, quietly standing as an historic symbol of life in Echo.

Fort Henrietta Foundation has gotten a new composition roof but the church is not being used. Most folks, Catholic or not, consider St. Peter’s to be a local treasure but even treasures need care. This last year the Echo Kiwanis set out to stop degradation of St Peters.

The local nonprofit raised money with an OktoberFest and have since gotten that work done. Besides the fundraiser, local help generously came from Dick Snow of Muleshoe Ranches and Rock Pit, Dave Smith of O So Kleen, Larry Ables of BD Ables Construction and his carpenters, bee keeper James Simpson of Baker City, Hermiston Glass, Lloyd Piercy, Jake Broyles, Echo Fire Department and a score of Kiwanis volunteer laborers.

Doors will be open from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday Oct. 1. St. Peter’s is located just across the Umatilla River bridge, west of Echo. Take the first left on Leezer Road after crossing the bridge. Refreshments will be provided by H&P Café. The address is 33208 Marble.

For more information, call or text 541-303-5730 or 509-366-3980.


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