German Baptist Church

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Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.

(Photograph courtesy of Diedrich Schwengels)

This congregation, one of the very early ones in Springfield, dated back to 1849, maintaining its existence until 1929, when it was reorganized under the name of the South Grand Avenue Baptist Church - now located at College and S. Grand, of which Rev. John Farrell is the pastor. The first church of this congregation was the main part of the original frame building of the First Methodist Church at 5th and Monroe, moved to the north side of Capitol Avenue just west of the Leland Hotel site, in 1856. That served until 1884 when the substantial frame structure shown above was dedicated - on the southeast corner of 1st and Edwards Streets - during the pastorage of Rev. William Papenhausen. Mr. Schwengels recalls that over the pulpit was the legend: "My house shall be a house of prayer for all the people," well reflecting a devout spirit of the congregation. Just east of the church, but out of camera range here, was the caretaker's house. There was no bell in the tower of the church. Note the hitching post in front, also the old-time gaslight standard, with the ever-present, small boy in evidence! Among the pastors of this church were Revs. William Papenhausen, B. Eisele, C. H. Becker, Henry Wernick, Charles Teckienburg, Richard Blandau, Klein, William Ritzman, P. E. Riemer, W. A. Spence and Harmon Wheeler, last incumbent in the Edwards Street period. This structure was razed about 1929, after which the building of the Illinois Education Association was erected on this site.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.