Saint John Baptist Church
1009 Flood Street, 76301
33-degrees 54' 53" N
98-degrees 28' 23" W
In June 1884, the Grainger & Ballot addition was platted in an area
later called The Eastside, which became the center of the African
American community of Wichita Falls. In this neighborhood in
November 1905, Rev. W. M. Massey, Charles and Susan Frizzel Craft,
Andrew Byrd, William Johnson and Lizzie Scott Richardson organized
Saint John Baptist Church, the third congregation of the Black
community. Mrs. Richardson is credited for naming the church. The
first service was held at Titus Chapel C.M.E Church. The church soon
moved to the Odd Fellows Hall and a building fund campaign was
initiated. A small wood frame building was erected on Park Street in
1906, but unfortunately burned in June 1913 while Pastor William
Washington served. A brush arbor, used for worship, was erected on
the same lot. Under Rev. M. K. Curry, a basement was built and by 1917 a
two-story brick sanctuary was completed with the first baptistery of
The Eastside area churches. A four-room house behind the church was
bought as the first parsonage.
Saint John became a spiritual and social center for the community.
During the devastating Great Depression of the 1930s, Rev. Moses P.
Timms and six other ministers of The Eastside Ministerial Alliance
sponsored the feeding of approximately two hundred people per day
with meals served in the basement of Saint John. Rev. Theodore Smith
was influential in building the first Black church-owned
recreational community park with a concession stand in 1947. Property
was purchased at 1009 Flood Street to erect a new church, dedicated in
August 1958. Rev. L.D. Bell's son was the architect. In 1967, the church
mortgage was paid off and a new three thousand-square-foot
parsonage was built. Saint John Baptist Church, more than a century
old, still remains a vital part of The Eastside community of Wichita
Marker is property of the State of Texas.