© Jerry F. Couch 2020
NEARLY 100 YEARS AGO it started like this….
Following its organization, members of the church’s congregation set about erecting a church building. They chose Donald R. Beeson as the architect to guide them. Beeson had designed the new St. Paul High School, “Greystone,” and “The Molinary House” (since demolished) on Third Ave. Though the high school building was torn down years ago, the Baptist Church building remains a St. Paul landmark, and a testament to Beeson’s mastery of design and proportion.
The photos you included in this article were taken in June of 1972 during the church’s 50-year anniversary celebration. The celebration was two-fold, with part one taking place in March and part two taking place in June. The featured image was taken in 1940. The occasion of the photo was a celebration by church’s congregation following payment of the final installment on the church’s mortgage.
Most of us will recognize the folks in the pictures. Some of them are still members of St. Paul First Baptist Church in 2020. There are too many names to include them all, so have fun looking and identifying. And if you have a personal anecdote you’d like to share, please do so in our comments section.
In the past year, there have been several renovation projects at the church and it’s looking very spiffy. Take note of the newly-painted columns and trim.
Also, we’d like to mention the church’s new minister, Rev. Andy Wood, who is in the process of wrapping up his long career with the U. S. Navy. At the present time, Rev. Andy is conducting services on-line as well as in-person when he’s in St. Paul. His family are already in residence at the church’s parsonage and his children are attending Wise County Schools.
The Clinch Valley Times has been promised an interview and will produce an article about Rev. Andy when he gets settled into his new home. Meanwhile, if you’re driving past the parsonage and see members of the Wood family, share a welcoming word. After all, this is Appalachia – where the only strangers are people whom we’ve never met!