Friday, July 28, 2017

Once a Baptist Church, Now a Fabric Store

I worked at UAB from 1983 through 2015 and often left campus going down University Boulevard and then Green Springs Highway [Alabama State Highway 149] to enter I-65. Thus I passed this building, on the right just before the U.S. Army Reserve location, many, many times. Recently I decided to investigate.

The structure, obviously built as a church, has been home to King Cotton Fabrics since 1993. Janet and Bill Haas had opened The Cloth Patch in Tuscaloosa in 1968 and then expanded to this location. You can see interior photos here. There is also a Montgomery shop; the Tuscaloosa shop is no longer open. 

The structure has a Jefferson County Historical Commission sign noting the building's original use as Green Springs Baptist Church. I presume the two dates given are the congregation's organization and then construction of this building in 1905. The interior retains the original hardwood floors. A couple of other buildings are located on the property to the right in this photo, but I have no idea about their construction. 

Below the recent photos is a 1949 newspaper article about the church and the city's right of way on Green Springs Highway. Initially paved in the 1920's, Green Springs was partially rerouted and became a divided highway in the mid-1940's. The building has been changed very little since then. The article notes that the church had recently built a basement and would like to make an addition onto the back of the church. 

I have so far been unable to find any more information about the church. Two large histories of Baptists in Alabama, A. Hamilton Reid's Baptists in Alabama [1967] and Wayne Flynt's Alabama Baptists [1998] do not mention it.

Perhaps one day I'll stop by again and make some inquiries about further details. History just pops up all over the place, doesn't it? 

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