Click to view full size image

First Baptist Church Fire

First Baptist Church fire, northeast corner of Avenue J and 13th street, January 1954. Organized on September 16, 1844 by Z. N. Morell and Thomas Horsely, the First Baptist Church in Huntsville is one of the oldest Baptist congregations in Texas. General Sam Houston and his wife were members; the Reverend G. W. Baines, the great grandfather of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, was the church's third pastor, serving from 1859-1860. The church's first building was erected on this site in 1851, and was the site of one of the first Sunday Schools in the state. A second church facility was dedicated on the site in 1891, and was used until 1924, when it was razed to make room for a grand Classical Revival building. The third building burned in 1954 and reconstruction transformed the building into a stripped-down education facility next to the new sanctuary, which was dedicated in 1955.