Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bethel Baptist Church

Bethel Baptist Church

Historic Preservation

Urban Architecture was hired to collect and compose historical information on historic Bethel Baptist Church as part of a permanent installation in what will be a new City of Houston park. Urban teamed up with local historian and genealogist Debra Blacklock-Sloan to compose a historical narrative describing the church's religious and civic development as representative of their historic churches in the African American community as part of Houston's overall cultural development. Minor Design is translating this information and historical images onto a graphic canvas that will serve as a compliment to the landscape design by White Oak Studio and the overall park experience. 

Bethel Baptist Church is located in Houston's historic Freedmen's Town Fourth Ward just west of the downtown area. It was founded by Rev. John Henry (Jack) Yates. Collaborative efforts with the Community Archaeology Research Institute uncovered evidence of four church buildings that were constructed on the site since 1891. Recognized African American Architect John Logan Blount designed the last building, which was completed in two phases (1923 & 1950). The church was damaged in a fire in January 2005. More than 75% of the walls have been saved in the new park design. The walls will serve as a frame for the new City Park, which is expected to be completed by summer's end.

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