Artifact of the Week: First Baptist Church 1871

Established two years before Faulkner County was established, Conway Baptist Church was founded in 1871. Its first church building, completed in 1876, was located on Van Ronkle Street near Oak Street (behind what is now Fat Daddy’s).

When this church building was destroyed by a storm in April 1883, the church made plans to relocate. Two years later, the church laid the cornerstone for this brick building at the corner of Caldwell and Faulkner Streets.

In December 1908, the congregation sold the brick building to the Presbyterians for $2,300, worshipping in a frame tabernacle while a new church was constructed at the corner of Robinson and Davis in 1909-10.

The First Presbyterian Church was first organized in the Hendrix College auditorium. Services would be held in a one-room office building on Railroad Avenue until an old public school building on Locust was bought, remodeled and used until 1908.

The Presbyterian congregation did not make any major changes to the building at Caldwell and Faulkner until 1953 when the education building was added. In 1977, the sanctuary was dismantled and a new one constructed in its place.

Robin Brown, son of Coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns and later Cincinnati Bengals, was the chairman of the building committee at this time. When he passed away in 1978, many NFL coaches, players and others associated with professional football made contributions toward the building renovation.

Robin’s children also donated that year’s Christmas money from their grandfather to pay for the stained glass windows in the front entry of the new church building.

In 1995, First Presbyterian Church built a new facility on Prince Street. The old church at Caldwell and Faulkner housed the county Juvenile and Circuit courts until 2014 but now houses the UA Division of Agriculture Faulkner County Extension Office as well as some county offices.

This photograph is part of the P-4 collection of the Faulkner County Historical Society housed in the UCA Archives. To see more Faulkner County artifacts, visit the museum, its Facebook page or its website www.faulknercountymuseum.org Help preserve our county’s history with your tax-deductible donation.

(1) comment

Rina Ostaba

Nice to read this interesting article about brightfaces of people.

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