Mount Gilead Baptist Church – 600 Grove Street

600 Grove Street [NR], Mount Gilead Baptist Church, 1912-13; 1916; 1950s; early 1980s.  Mount Gilead Baptist Church is Fort Worth’s oldest Baptist African-American congregation.  It has been called the “mother church” because many other African-American Baptist churches have come from its membership.  Founded in 1875, the church met at two other locations before constructing this building in 1912-13.  Guided by Rev. L.K. Williams, the church selected Fort Worth architects Sanguinet and Staats to design the building. J.W.O. Guinn, a contractor working with B.W. Owens of the G.W. Owens Lumber Co., was the contractor.  Completed in August 1913, the Neoclassical temple-form church has six non-fluted Tuscan columns supporting the pedimented entrance portico.  When it was constructed, the building housed a day nursery, a swimming pool (African-Americans were not allowed to use public facilities at that time), a gymnasium, a library, and a roof garden.  The church has been altered somewhat through the years. Windows in the raised basement area have been covered over with tile, and the second story windows have been replaced.  Nonetheless, Mount Gilead is potentially eligible for the National Register for its importance in Fort Worth’s African American community and for its architectural qualities.

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