South Elyton Baptist Church, 102 First Street, South, Birmingham, Jefferson County, AL
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South, Birmingham, AL
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS AL-983
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (N785).
Building/structure dates: 1940 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1989 subsequent work
Significance: Established in 1914, the South Elyton Baptist Church located in Titusvulle, a growing and densely populated residential community south of Elyton, the county seat of Jefferson County from 1819 until the founding of Birmingham in the 1870s. Titusville extends from tracks to tracks, from Southside to Mason City and Elyton to Green Springs and the red ore mines along Red Mountain. South Elyton Baptist Church chose a site along First Street, a major thoroughfare, on Lots 1 & 2 in Block 1 of the Session Land Company's subdivision of the Walker Land Co.'s Addition to Birmingham. Construction for the historic sanctuary began in the late 1920s when church member Mr. Walton, his mule and scaper began excavation of the basement. Prominent African-American architect Wallace A. Rayfield provided the plans. His residence, a social hub of the community, faced the site across First Street. Rayfield's plans guided these do-it-yourself church members, children of the founders who built the church from 1940 to 1947. Home-cooked dinners and several mortgages financed this construction. The church incorporated in April 1958. During the 1960s, it hosted meetings of the Birmingham-based civil rights organization, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Since completion of the wonderfully compatible "walk-in" addition in 1989, the historic sanctuary continues serving as an educational facility for the church and a community center hosting meetings for the neighborhood, scouts, and civic and voter leagues. Church leaders, described by their descendants who remain church members, were "general doers" who worked "big jobs" and sometimes two jobs daily. These jobs were with "TC and I, the railroads and the mines." Alpha Portland Cement in nearby Powderly was another employer. Many bricklayers and carpenters also belonged to the congregation. Women leaders taught school.
Rayfield, Wallace A.
Dennis, Christopher, Field Team
Howell, Brenda, Field Team
Jones, Bill, Field Team
Slaughter, Carol, Field Team
Hamilton, Amy, Field Team
Anderson, Richard K., Delineator
White, Marjorie L., Historian
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1. PERSPECTIVE ELEVATION SOUTH ELYTON BAPTIST CHURCH
2. EXTERIOR, NORTH AND REAR ELEVATIONS
3. STREETSCAPE LOOKING SOUTHWEST
4. PERSPECTIVE OLD AND NEW CHURCH BUILDINGS
5. PERSPECTIVE FROM L STREET LOOKING AT NEW WING
6. ELEVATION OF NEW WING
7. INTERIOR VIEW OF SANCTUARY, STAND AND STAGE LOOKING WEST
8. INTERIOR VIEW OF SANCTUARY LOOKING TOWARD CHOIR LOFT
9. INTERIOR VIEW OF SANCTUARY ADDITION
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