First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church – Houston, Texas

This Historical Marker is located at 4420 Lyons Avenue in Houston. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1891 by former residents of Shreveport, Louisiana, who had relocated to Houston following a flood. Commonly known as “The Louisiana Church”, it is one of the earliest African American Baptist Churches. This church was designed by John Saunders Chase Jr. who was the first licensed African American Architect. For over 125 years, First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church has been a source of inspiration and guidance to area residents.
The Historical Marker Reads:

First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1891 in the Fifth Ward of Houstn. It is one of the oldest African American Baptist Churches in the area. The congregation was made up of displaced Shreveport residents, who were forced to leave after the flood of 1890 left them without home or jobs. The first Pastor, Rev. Judge P. Parker, led his small congregation in houses for three years until they rented the Colored Odd Fellows Hall on McMillan St. The church was commonly referred to as “The Louisiana Church”.

In 1898, property was purchased in the 2900 Block of Providence St. and a brush arbor was constructed on the site. The first permanent edifice, a large stone structure with a Baptistery, was erected in the early 1900’s. In 1947, the congregation purchased land adjacent to the church and built a two-story brick building for education purposes. The church moved to its current site on Lyons Ave. in 1953 when the property at Providence St. was sold to the City of Houston. The congregations new worship facility was designed by John Saunders Chase Jr. Texas’ first licensed African American Architect. The church was renamed First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church when the new building was finished in 1955.

Noted church members include Louise Ozelle Martin, the churches official photographer, who chronicled Houston’s Black Society and opened a photography school; and Catherine Adams, who had a city park named in her honor due to her work with community organizations and the area youth in 1985. The B.H.Roberts Institute was established to honor the late Pastor who served the community for 35 years. The church still serves as a place of worship for the now diverse Fifth Ward Community.

Historical Marker Year 2014

 

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