St. John Missionary Baptist Church
2222 Gray Street
Houston , 77003
Notes: Application submitted to THC, Class of 2011, 11HR19; see Marker # 15797 also St. John Missionary Baptist Church; marker shipped 12-14-2012; Debra Blacklock-Sloan reports marker dedicated June 9, 2013; this location listed as "Saint John Missionary Batptist Church" in the THC Atlas
Directions: From I-45 south on Dowling one block to Gray, right/west on Gray one block to Bastrop Street; marker is located at the northeast corner of the church
Key Time Period: 1893 - 1919 City Beautiful - WW I
Marker Text: St. John Missionary Baptist Church, organized in 1899 by reverends Gilbert Green and Hilliard R. Johnson, first met in a small building near Calhoun Avenue and Live Oak Street. In 1901, Rev. James B. Bouldin purchased property, later conveyed to church trustees, in the 2100 block of Broadway (now Bastrop Street). A small frame building was later erected there, but after a storm demolished it, a tent was used temporarily for worship services. Between 1907 and 1915, a new sanctuary was built with a baptismal pool, auditorium, partial balcony, elevated choir stand, additional rooms, and a bell in the left tower that continues to be used today in the right tower.
In 1917, the church split due to various misunderstandings, creating another St. John Baptist church on Dowling Street. As membership increased with more people moving to the city after World War II, a larger building was needed. In 1946, James M. Thomas, a local black contractor who became Houston’s most prominent architect for black congregations, built the three-story Gothic Revival masonry structure with the nave and twin towers exemplifying 1930s to 1950s local African-American church architecture.
Although St. John had many struggles and grew slowly, it became one of the most important churches in the early 1900s, noted for its attitude towards civic and benevolent movements. It has progressed from a traditional service to a spirit filled, praise and worship experience and continues as an influential African-American institution.
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 U
GPS Coordinates: 29 44.517, 95 21.628
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 16890