HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI
First Baptist Church
The embellished photograph shows the First Baptist Church at 525 South Avenue as it looked shortly after it was built in 1951. The building was of the Georgian Colonial style, made with red brick and four Corinthian columns gracing the front portico. The steeple is 138 feet tall, with a 14-foot high, six foot wide copper cross at the top. A special speaker and intercom system allowed simultaneous use of the main sanctuary, chapel and basement. The main sanctuary contains 1580 seats plus 52 seats in the choir. The ten large windows of the sanctuary are made of an opaque glass typical of Georgian period buildings. A circular stained glass window of a Bible and a lighted torch were a part of the new building. The Memorial Chapel, which seats 300, was named to honor service men and women who fought in World War II and the Korean War. The new building also contained a church library, something the old church did not have.
Shortly after the congregation moved into the new church in 1962, the church celebrated its centennial. Also during this time the old parsonage, the original church building from 1895 and the McCrum house just across the parking lot from the main building, were razed because they were deemed too damaged to use. During excavation of the McCrum House, later called the Baby Building by the church, several graves were found in a nearby forgotten cemetery behind the antebellum house.
A new four-story building used for Sunday school was built in 1954. It was named the Eastham Building to honor Dr. Fred Eastham, the church pastor. The rest of the church land was turned into a 150-car parking lot.
The church currently has activities such as Greek Day, a summer celebration day camp for children and Vacation Bible School. It has several Cub and Boy Scout packs associated with it. It provides many services, including a deaf ministry, music ministry and a Mother's Day Out. It is also associated with the Special Olympics, has a latchkey program and a television ministry.