Third Baptist Church, Grand Center

Anyone who’s ever gone to a show in Grand Center has seen the welcoming lights of the Third Baptist Church at the corner of Grand and Washington. It is not the first Third Baptist Church at the site, but seemingly the second. Looking at the Sanborn map below, you can see the original church on the spot (the congregation is one of the oldest in the city and originated downtown), before Washington Avenue’s alignment had been changed to the present configuration, connected with its western portion and passing just to the south of the church property.

Grand Center Richardson

The large mansion, that once sat south of the church, was already labeled “boarding house” by the time the map was published in the early Twentieth Century; Grand Center had already begun its transition from being a stately residential address to a commercial, bustling second downtown of the city where streetcar lines converged. Read more about the history of the church here.

I particularly enjoy how the building continues down the Washington Avenue side, carefully following the slant of the street from Grand.

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I love how the church and its Sunday School rooms articulate in and out along the street; it must be interesting to look out the windows onto what was once a bustling street.

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Read the historic nomination here.

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While the church has a decidedly Art-Deco influence to it, however subtle, its Gothic Revival influence tinged with the later style is what makes the building interesting.

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The original church, built in 1885 and visible on the Sanborn map, was encased in 1950 with the present structure.

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It would be interesting to the interior at some point, but the church is always closed when I am there.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne Witten Fried says:

    My grandparents, Ralph Witten and Ethel Iona Beans, were married at the Third Baptist Church in 1925. He was attending dental school in Saint Louis (he came from a small North Central MO farming town) after having returned home from WWI. She owned a beauty salon in Saint Louis, which she continued to own for several years after they moved to California shortly after their wedding. Thank you for the photos and post!

  2. Brent says:

    I have been a follower of your blog in the past, but changes in phones and readers meant I missed this post earlier this year. I play the organ at this church. The instrument was recently restored and is now the second largest fully-functional pipe organ in the city. If you ever want to see inside the building, just send me an email.

  3. Rev. george bonson says:

    I visited your church in1944 as a british navy trainee pilot I was welcomed by Dr. Charles \Oscar Johnson into the forces Christian fellowship. I was warmly welcomed by many in the church an went to lunch with \ \mr. \\\\\\\\\\\\\’ \\\\mrs, Ferguson who had a 7 year old daughter. I stii have the photo. It was a experience \I have never forgottes. MMy best wishes to you all. -and thanks for the memory!. I have retrired from the Baptist ministry here nand am now 90 yrears old, but still playing golf.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Interesting, had the church already been renovated into its current form, or was it still the old church?

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