Historical Markers in Tarrant County

Page 10

Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church

Located at 116 Elm Street, Fort Worth.

This Tudor Gothic Revival sanctuary was constructed between 1912 and 1914, during the pastorate of the Rev. R.S. Jenkins, for the congregation of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church. Designed by black architect William Sidney Pittman, who was a son-in-law of Booker T. Washington, the church building is representative of those erected by large black congregations in southern urban areas. Elements of the modified Gothic style are particularly visible in its tower and stained glass windows. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark- 1983.


Ash Creek Baptist Church

Located at 300 S. Stewart St., Azle.

On September 9, 1871, the Rev. J.C. Powers led 48 charter members in organizing Ash Creek Missionary Baptist Church. Guarding against Indians, Rev. Powers preached with a gun beside his Bible and men kept rifles on their knees. A meeting house was erected at this site in 1891 under the Rev. T.H. Sturges. In summers, brush arbors were built and prayer meetings held on the grounds. The women sold all eggs laid on Sundays to buy Sunday school literature. In 1965 a new auditorium was built and the original structure used for a Fellowship Hall. (1979)


Azle Christian Church

Located at 117 Church St., Azle.

This congregation grew from worship services conducted here in the 1880s on land donated by Dr. Azle Stewart, for whom the town was named. Organized in 1890, the Fellowship met under a brush arbor until 1893, when the first sanctuary was completed. The earliest youth organization for the church was the Christian Endeavor, started about 1904. Members of that group established the first Public Library for Azle in the home of Valera Huster. Additions were later made to the original structure and a new sanctuary was built in 1974. (1980)


Bedford Church of Christ

Located at 2401 Bedford Rd., Bedford.

Founded about 1874 by members of Spring Garden Church of Christ, this congregation was originally called New Hope Church of Christ. The first meetinghouse was built here on Milton Moore's farm near a small cemetery about 1874. The church has worshiped continually at this site since its beginning. Moore deeded this five acres to the congregation in 1877. During its early years the church also served as the local school. By 1900 the name Bedford Church of Christ began to be used. In 1958 the congregation gave the original buildings to a neighboring church and built a new brick auditorium. (1983)


Beth-el Congregation

Located at 207 W. Broadway, Fort Worth.

The beginnings of a Reform Jewish Community in Fort Worth date to 1879, when the Hebrew Benevolent Society opened a Sabbath School, and early services were held in homes. About 1900, under the leadership of Henry Gernsbacher (1858-1936), enthusiasm began to grow,and in 1902 a call was issued in the area for the organization of a formal congregation. Forty-three people gathered to found the Beth-el Congregation, and Sam Levy (1856-1927) was elected president. The Fort Worth section of the National Counsel of Jewish Women donated funds to bring a Rabbi to conduct High Holy Days services. The early days of the congregation were difficult ones, with services being held sporadically. For a time, student Rabbis from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati conducted services for High Holy Days. In 1904 a Rabbi was hired, and the congregation met in rented quarters. A lot was bought on the corner of Fifth and Taylor streets in 1907, and a Temple was built in 1908. By 1919 the congregation had outgrown the buildings and a new Temple was built on this site. Soon after a 25th Anniversary Celebration, the temple was destroyed by fire on August 29, 1946. Beth-El Temple was rebuilt, and dedicated on January 7, 1949. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986.


Birdville Baptist Church

Located at 3145 Carson St., Haltom City.

Organized late in 1853 by J. Boone, S. Elliott, J. Freeman, W. Giddens, and R. Pickett. After an 1856-64 lapse, ten members reorganized as the United Baptist Church at Fossil Creek. In 1917 congregation adopted present name. (1971)


Birdville Church of Christ

Located at 3208 Carson St., Haltom City.

On February 26, 1852, soon after Birdville became the Tarrant County seat, 12 charter members attended this congregation's first worship service. After reorganizing in 1882, the members met in the Birdville school building. In 1900, Richard M. Gano, the well-known evangelist and Confederate general, conducted a revival. This land was acquired from the John McCord family and a frame building was erected in 1906. After a 1950 fire, this brick auditorium was constructed and then repaired after a 1970 fire. (1979)


Broadway Baptist Church of Ft. Worth

Located at 305 W. Broadway, Fort Worth.

On December 31, 1882, six men and three women met to organize this congregation. They called the Rev. John Smith Gillispie as their first Pastor. The name South Side Baptist Church was adopted January 14, 1883, at worship services held in a rented hall at 15th and Houston Street. In 1886 the fellowship erected a frame church building on the southwest corner of Broadway and St. Louis Avenue. Four years later the congregational name was changed to Broadway Baptist Church. As the church grew, larger facilities were needed. In 1906 a brick structure replaced the original building. On April 3, 1909, a devastating fire swept Fort Worth's South Side, destroying over 200 structures, including the church building, parsonage, and the homes of 22 member families. Rebuilding started immediately, and a new church structure was completed in 1910. The church complex expanded with the addition of educational facilities. A new sanctuary was begun in 1949 and completed by Easter Sunday in 1952. The membership of Broadway Baptist Church has grown to over 2,500 in its centennial year. At least seven other Baptist churches have been established through the efforts of this congregation. (1982)


Congregation Ahaveth Shalon

Located at 4050 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth.

Recognized as Fort Worth's first Jewish congregation, Congregation Ahavath Sholom, meaning "Love of Peace", was organized in 1892. William Goldstein served as its first president. The first synagogue, a wooden structure built in 1893 and located at the corner of Hemphill and Jarvis Streets, was relocated to downtown Fort Worth (819 Taylor Street) in 1901. Subsequent growth in the congregation's membership led to the construction of a brick structure at the Taylor site in 1906. An adjoining building, which housed the congregation's Hebrew Institute, was built in 1914. The Institute's Ladies Auxiliary, organized in 1915, sponsored a Sunday school and assisted charity organizations. Mrs. Sam Rosen was its first president. The Institute served as a community center for military personnel during World Wars I and II. The Men's Club, organized in 1944 with Maurice Rabinowtz as president, develops cultural, social, and athletic interests. A new synagogue, erected at the corner of 8th and Myrtle Streets, was dedicated in 1952. A synagogue was constructed at this site in 1980. Although the location of the synagogue has changed, it continues to be the focal point for the religious observances of the congregation. (1993)


First Baptist Church of Arlington

Located at 300 S. Center St., Arlington.

In the 1870s this church was organized at Johnson Station, an early Tarrant County settlement and stagecoach stop. In 1876 the Texas and Pacific Railroad built a lien through the area and founded Arlington. The church and other institutions moved to the new town. Worship services were held at several meeting sites before the congregation built a sanctuary at Pecan and Abram Streets in 1917. That Church building burned in 1944, and an auditorium was constructed on South Center Street in 1947. A new sanctuary at this location was added in 1959. (1982)


First Baptist Church of Crowley

Located at 400 S. Eagle Dr., Crowley.

Originally a small congregation in a rural setting, this church has evolved through a continuous succession of expansions into a leading suburban church serving southwestern Tarrant County. The earliest record mentioning the church dates to 1896, the year of its establishment and admission into the Tarrant County Baptist Association. The Rev. G. W. Green served as pastor of the original 27-member congregation. In 1899 the church began services in a newly erected auditorium, built on a town lot on Tarrant Street purchased two years earlier. Expansion needs caused by steady growth in the Sunday School program were satisfied temporarily with the interior remodeling of an army barrack donated to the church in 1947 and the erection of a new sanctuary in 1951. The lack of room for additional facilities at its original Tarrant Street location resulted in the acquisition of this 9.3-acre site in 1974 and dedication of a new sanctuary four years later. The church undertook a much publicized relocation of its 2-story education building, constructed in 1966, from Tarrant Street to this location in 1980. In 1991 the congregation, which numbered more than one thousand members, celebrated its 95th Anniversary. (1992, 1998)


First Baptist Church of Grapevine

Located at 301 E. Texas, Grapevine.

Baptist in the Grapevine prairie area began meeting in their own homes as early as 1846. Worship services later were held in a log schoolhouse on what is now Dooley Street in the community of Grapevine. On December 25, 1869, the pioneers gathered to form a Baptist Church. The eighteen charter members chose A.J. Hallford as their first Pastor. The Church's first sanctuary was completed in 1871. Over the years, First Baptist Church of Grapevine has grown steadily in membership and has provided significant service and leadership to the community. (1984)


First Baptist Church of Keller

Located at 350 Loraine St., Keller.

Founded in 1882 as the Keller Baptist Church, this church was started by 20 former members of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church soon after rail lines reached the area. Early meetings were held in a schoolhouse and then in the Union Church Building. The Rev. Elihu Newton (1845-1925) served as the first Pastor, with R.I McCain, William J. Prewett and William Crawford as the first Deacons. A charter member of the Tarrant County Baptist Association, founded in 1886, the First Baptist Church of Keller has been instrumental in the community's development for a century. (1983)


First Baptist Church of Kennedale

Located at 309 N. Kinney St., Kennedale.

Believed to have been organized before 1887, this congregation met for worship in a local schoolhouse and baptized new members in nearby creeks and a small lake to the tune of "Shall We Gather at The River." Land was deeded to the Kennedale Baptist Church in 1887; in 1895 the church joined the Tarrant County Baptist Association. The Kennedale community tabernacle, shared with area Methodists, was used for larger socials and revivals. By 1896 the congregation was installed in a one-room structure of its own with the Reverend G. W. Green as pastor. A parsonage was built on church property in 1938, and by 1940 an addition to the original one room building was required. A new two-story Austin stone structure with tall stained glass windows and a balcony in the auditorium, built in 1954, was destroyed by fire in 1959. Undaunted, church members raised $3,585.65, sold the parsonage, and erected a fellowship hall. By 1961, a new church building faced east. The First Baptist Church of Kennedale continues a proud tradition of over 110 years of community service with such programs as the Women's Missionary Union, established in August 1903, and a taped ministry for shut-ins. (1997)


First Baptist Church of White Settlement

Located at 7801 White Settlement Rd., White Settlement.

Six charter members established this congregation in 1868 and named it New Prospect Baptist Church. The founding members - Joseph and Melinda Jane Farmer, James and Sally Young, and Lawrence and E. A. Steel -called the Rev. J. C. Powers as their first pastor. They met in Grant's School, a one-room log cabin that also served as a community center. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Dearing gave the church an acre of land and then sold another acre to the church for the purpose of building a permanent house of worship in the White Settlement community in 1905. Three years later the name was changed to White Settlement Baptist Church. A lightning strike in May 1946 caused the church building to burn to the ground. Members met in an adjacent school facility while plans were made for a new building, which was completed in 1953. The congregation maintained a fairly small membership until the 1940s and 1950s when nearby development of Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, Carswell Air Force Base and associated industries brought a surge in the area's population. During this time, White Settlement Baptist Church helped found a number of new congregations in the county and developed strong programs of education, mission and outreach to the community. Known as the First Baptist Church of White Settlement since 1954, the congregation has played a significant role in the religious history of Tarrant County and continues to uphold the ideals and traditions of its founders. (2001)


First Christian Church of Fort Worth

Located at 612 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth.

City's pioneer congregation, organized by the Rev. A.M. Dean, who with hymn book and revolver came in 1855 to the riotous six-year-old hamlet on the Trinity. He held services (at present Belknap and Houston streets) in a log house built for Post Surgeon, 2nd Dragoons, U.S. Army, stationed at fort that gave the city its name. Charter members were: Mr. and Mrs. James K. Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin P. Ayers, Mrs. Francis M. Durrett, Mrs. Alfred D. Johnson, Mrs. Florence Peak, Mr. and Mrs. William A. Sanderson, and Stephen Terry. First regular meeting place, a one-story concrete house at present Belknap and Lamar, was used on weekdays by Col. John Peter Smith (member of congregation) for sessions of the first public school established in Fort Worth. Rev. Mr. Dean, a frontier farmer, was followed as pastor by Dr. B.F. Hall, a dentist, and by Dr. Mansell Mathews, physician and judge of Red River County, and head of a large family grazing cattle in this area. Confederate General R.M Gano of Grapevine after the Civil War preached regularly at this church. In later 1860s came the Rev. Joseph Clark and sons Addison and Randolph, who in 1873 founded Add-Ran College, forerunner of Texas Christian University. First Christian is the oldest church in Fort Worth.


First Christian Church

Located at 910 S. Collins St., Arlington.

This congregation traces its origin to a small group of Christians gathered together by the Rev. William H. Wright in the young town of Arlington in 1882. In its first century it has involved into one of Arlington's leading religious institutions whose Bible lectures, educational services, and social and musical ministries reach into the local community and beyond. The Rev. Mr. Wright formally organized First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1890. The congregation erected its first sanctuary in 1895-96 on two lots at the corner of Mesquite and South Streets purchased by church trustees in 1892. Three church members who helped found Arlington College (The University of Texas at Arlington) in 1895 began a close association with the University which continues today. First Christian built a new church building at the corner of Abram and Mesquite in 1919 and called their first full-time pastor in 1948. The congregation moved to a new brick sanctuary here in 1957. First Christian helped establish Rush Creek Christian Church in 1977 and Saint Andrew Christian Church in 1988. The congregation continues to serve the community with a variety of social programs, including Mother's Day Out, pastoral counseling, and televised ministries. (1993)


First Methodist Church of Azle

Located at 200 Church St., Azle.

The Rev. Will A. Stephens and 15 charter members organized this church in 1895, then purchased a church building from the United Brethren Church and secured a parsonage. Sunday school classes began in 1930. The church called its first full-time Minister in 1942, and by 1946 membership had more than doubled. An education building was erected in 1949-51 and new brick sanctuary was built in 1960. The congregation was renamed First United Methodist Church in 1968, following the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist denominations. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845-1995.


First Presbyterian Church of Crowley

Located at 209 N. Beverly St., Crowley.

This congregation grew from early brush arbor meetings and a Union Sunday School begun in 1895. The Presbyterians were one of the first denominations to break away from the Union Church to form their own congregation. By 1897, the fellowship had built a sanctuary. The First Presbyterian Church of Crowley was served for many years by circuit ministers. One of their earliest pastors was the Rev. L. C. Collier, who also served as president of the nearby Red Oak Academy. Throughout its history, the congregation has provided significant community service and leadership. (1985)


First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth

Located at 1000 Penn St., Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Presbyterian Church was organized in 1873 with ten charter members. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, U. S. ("Southern"), the congregation built a frame sanctuary at the corner of 4th and Calhoun Streets. In 1886 the name was changed to First Presbyterian Church of Fort Worth, and a new stone structure was built in 1890. A Fort Worth congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was formed in 1878. When the Cumberland Presbyterian Church affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. ("Northern") in 1906, the word Cumberland was dropped from the local church's name. Desiring to work together to serve the community with worship and missionary programs, the two Fort Worth congregations united in 1916 to form a federation, the first such union in Texas. The members met together and shared one pastor, but maintained separate national affiliations. The congregation erected a new edifice at this site, opening it on December 23, 1956. The "Southern" and "Northern" denominations united in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). (1992)

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