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.
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.
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.
Read the historic nomination here.
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.
The original church, built in 1885 and visible on the Sanborn map, was encased in 1950 with the present structure.
It would be interesting to the interior at some point, but the church is always closed when I am there.