So we rebuilt the wall...for the people worked with all their heart.
Nehemiah 4:6

The History of College Street Baptist Church
1909 - 1970
(An account of our history taken from The Good Hand of God, An Account of the Burning of College Street Baptist Church, by Charles F. Cobb, 1970.)

The Second Baptist Church of Walhalla

The history of College Street Baptist Church begins on Sunday, November 7, 1909. On that evening an interested group of people under the leadership of Dr. J. M. Bailey, Reverends L. M. Lyda, J. B. Trammell, J. A. Bond, R. W. Grubbs, and Deacon G. G. Deal organized a Baptist church. It was constituted with 25 members and named the Second Baptist Church of Walhalla.

At first, meetings were held monthly. This gave way to semi-monthly services. These meetings were held in a building located at the corner of Wesley and Spring Streets, owned by the mill company.

Several attempts were made by this group to join with the Knitting Mill church (now Southside). Unable to join this group the people went to work and built their church on Lucas Street at a cost of $1,060.00. This building was damaged by a windstorm on July 3, 1917. The people restored it immediately.

In 1922 the people of the Second Baptist enlarged their church building on Lucas Street. During much of the 1920's Second Baptist and Jordania Baptist (now Utica) of Seneca, SC comprised a field for one pastor.

A Record Attendance of 305 in 1950

In 1949 the church on Lucas Street was remodeled. This was done at a cost of $4,111.21. On November 5, 1949 membership in the church stood at 230.

Another program of building was begun in 1950 under the leadership of Pastor Lewis Gibson. New Sunday School rooms were added to the existing building. When the building was occupied on June 4, 1950 there were 281 people present for Sunday School. On September 3, 1950 a record attendance of 305 in Sunday School was reported.

Under the leadership of Pastor Doug Baker the church made progress. In 1952 the rotating deacon system was introduced into the program of the church. A new heating system was installed in the church in 1953 at a cost of $1,500.00. A new organ was purchased. With the aid of Rev. B. B. Jerrigan, the Sunday School was departmentalized in 1953. In June 1954, the Vacation Bible School has an enrollment of 200 with an average attendance of 170.

A New Parsonage

February 12, 1956 marked the beginning of another phase of enlargement. A new parsonage was built at 516 S. Spring Street. This replaced the parsonage on Lucas Street.

Rev. N. W. Finley was called to the pastorate of Second Baptist in May, 1957. He was the first pastor to occupy the new parsonage on Spring Street. His pastorate was to the longest consecutive pastorate in the life of the church to this date.

The Building of a New Church... College Street Baptist Church

Under the leadership of Pastor Finley the church progressed. A search was begun for an appropriate site for a new church building. On November 19, 1963, the property on which the church now stands was purchased for $11,700.00. On July 21, 1964 the church voted to build a new church building to cost $100,000.00. Bonds were to be sold to finance this venture. During this time the lot joining the old church on Lucas Street was sold for $4,000. An extra lot joining the parsonage was sold for $1,000.

Ground Breaking for the new church was held in December, 1964. When construction was completed the church had spent a total of $115,547.98. Dedication and Homecoming were held on July 11, 1965. In October, 1965 the name of the church was changed from Second Baptist to College Street.

On Sunday, May 12, 1968 the church was called into conference for the purpose of electing a pastor. The Rev. Charles F. Cobb was given a unanimous call. His ministry on the field began June 10, 1968.

The Church Progressed. After the fall revival in October, 1968, 24 people were baptized. Rev. E. B. Lowery and Mr. Harold Redmon were the visiting evangelistic team. In November, 1968, a Stewardship Campaign was conducted. Mr. Clyde McCall was General Chairman. At the conclusion of the campaign 218 people had returned dedication cards and 173 had pledged to tithe. The offerings more than doubled.

A Building Destroyed...

December 2, 1968 was a sad day for us. In the early morning hours fire completely destroyed our building. Damage was estimated to be more than $150,000.00. Only a few pieces of equipment were saved. Fortunately, wise Trustees and Deacons had insured the building and the church received $153,000 in insurance money.

Under the leadership of the deacons, Roy D. Harden, chairman, the people were rallied. A prayer meeting was held at the parsonage on Monday evening, December 2. Activities on the church were moved to South Pine Street School. An office was opened in a house provided by Chicopee Manufacturing Company at 7 South John Street. The work would continue. We were broken in heart but not in spirit. God was blessing. Committees were appointed to rebuild the church. the building was place under contract to W & N Construction Company, Taylors, SC. Walker and Farmer Architects of Greenville, SC drew the plans. Construction of the building began in December, 1969. The education building contains 12,600 square feet with a seating capacity of about 500 people.

The new building was used first for training purposes on Sunday, January 11, 1970. On Sunday, January 18, 1970 there were 252 people in Sunday school and 113 present for Training Union. Church membership on that day stood at 413.

Additional Notes from the Account by Rev. Charles F. Cobb

It is difficult to remember all the things that were happening about this time. Things tend to run together. On Sunday, January 18, 1970 we met in the new building for the first time. We has 250 plus people for Bible Study and the Sanctuary was filled for Worship. Of course we sat in metal folding chairs. But God was present and we had a glorious time together. It was good to be back home in our new church building.

It was decided that the Dedication of the new building would be postponed until all the furnishings were completely installed. In a few weeks this was taken care of and Dedication Services were announced for Sunday, February 8, 1970. The Rev. Sam Pittman, first Associational Missionary in Beaverdam Association, was asked to preach the Dedicatory Sermon.

After the Dedicatory Sermon the congregation went outside and joined together in the setting of the corner plates. A box was placed behind the corner plates which contained mementoes of the day and events.

Actually, instead of having just a Dedication Service, a week of Dedication Services were held. The Deacons and people of College Street had been warmly blessed by the entire community during the months we had been without our church building. Therefore, in an attempt to say "thank you" to the people of our community, they were invited to share in the joy of our new building. Various pastors form several denominations were asked to come and share in the preaching of God's Word from the pulpit of College Street Church during the week of dedication services. It was a week that would live long in the memories of the people of Walhalla.

(More to come... Look for more from The Good Hand of God, An Account of the Burning of College Street Baptist Church, by Charles F. Cobb.)

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College Street Baptist Church
407 South College Street
P.O. Box 340
Walhalla, SC 29691
Office (864) 638-2986
Fax (864) 638-2980

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