In 1852 twelve people gathered to organize a Baptist Church in Springfield,
which then had a population of about 500. A preacher named Braxton
McCord Roberts organized this church, which was the first Baptist
Church in Springfield and the third in Greene County. The congregation
met in a small brick house on Olive Street in June and July 1852.
Next they met in a schoolhouse east of
Benton Avenue, then in the Temperance Hall on the corner of
St. Louis Street and the
Public Square. The following two years were spent in the Methodist
Church House and the Reverend Roberts' home.
A new church was finally built in 1861. This first church building
was taken over by the Federal authorities for military use later
in the same year. The building was used by both sides in the Civil
War for various purposes. It was finally returned to the church
in 1868. After the war eighteen members of the church gathered and
the process of rebuilding began. The original church building continued
to be used, with occasional renovations, until 1917 when it was
The large brick church in the postcard was built in 1895 and the
1861 building was moved to the back of the lot and turned to face
north. The new church building was constructed at 525 South Avenue,
facing east toward South Street. The exterior was made of red brick
in a modified Gothic style with a large white steeple. In the front
of the building was a magnificent stained-glass window portraying
the Sower. The interior of the church contained varnished red oak
pews with a choir loft behind the pulpit and a pipe organ with exposed
pipes. The ceiling was decorated with exposed wooden beams and large
hanging lights. The building held 350 people.
Additions were made to the building in 1905 and 1917. The photograph
in the postcard was probably taken shortly after the 1905 addition,
as it shows an area on the right side of the building that is not
in a photograph of the original building. The postcard is postmarked
in 1909 so it was definitely made before the 1917 addition.
First Baptist Church #2