Bethel Missionary Baptist Church
801 Andrews Street
Houston , 77019
Notes: Class of 2011, 11HR21; marker not searchable by Keyword in THC Atlas, locate via marker search by County
Directions: From West Dallas south on Heiner three blocks to Andrews, west on Andrews; marker is on the southwest corner of the 800 block of Andrews and the 1200 block of Crosby
Key Time Period: 1877 - 1892 Post-Reconstruction
Marker Text: In 1890-91, Rev. Jack Yates and a group of worshippers left Antioch Baptist Church over a disagreement about renovation funding. They named their new congregation Bethel Baptist Church, referring to "Beth-el" meaning a "center" near an individual’s heart called the "House of God". In October 1891, the congregation purchased a lot on Andrews at Crosby upon which a simple building was soon erected. The church was blown down in the 1900 storm and rebuilt with salvageable material from the wreckage.
The two longest-serving pastors, Rev. James R. Burdett (1917-1946) and Rev. W. H. Dudley (1948-1970), oversaw the construction of a Gothic Revival influenced structure. The first phase, a one-story building, was designed by John L. Blount in 1923. The church was expanded to three stories by architect James M. Thomas in 1949-50. The interior was destroyed by a fire on January 24, 2005, but the exterior remained. Bethel’s design, with its at-grade entrance and oversized arched entry with a modern minimal façade embellishment, is unusual and represents its progressive and affluent congregation.
Bethel was sometimes referred to as the "silk stocking" church because of its well-to-do members including Dr. B. J. Covington, co-founder of the Houston Negro Hospital; J. H. Harmon, dry goods merchant; Eldridge "Bud" Jackson, funeral home owner; Anderson Lacey, internationally known violinist; Clifton F. Richardson, Sr., editor and founder of the Houston Informer and Houston Defender; and Rutherford B. H. Yates, Sr., printer and educator. Bethel was one of the earliest congregations in Freedmen’s Town. Although the Bethel congregation now worships in another community, it has maintained a close relationship with the residents of Fourth Ward since its founding.
175 Years of Texas Independence * 1836-2011
Marker is property of the State of Texas
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 493 P
GPS Coordinates: 29 45.346, 95 22.563
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 17014