HISTORY

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The church buildings constructed by Boiling Springs Baptist Church are shown in the sketch in our vestibule. The four previous buildings were built and occupied between 1816 and 1969. The present building was completed and dedicated in 1969.

The sketch of the Past Church Buildings and Present Building was completed on September 17, 2005 by Efrem Tekie in Celebration of Founder’s Day 2005.  According to records, the church was first called Boiling Springs Baptist Church around 1850.  In the period before 1850, the members met in a log building known as the Woods Meeting House.

Church Building 1 (~1816-~1850)

As early as 1816, the people of the Boiling Springs community worshipped in a brush arbor and expressed a need for a place to meet and worship. That meeting place was the building called “The Woods Meeting House. The first building was about 40 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 12 feet high. It was built with logs, and the cracks were from 4 to 6 inches apart. The cracks were not daubed with mud as some buildings were at that time; it was left open. The building had 2 doors and 1 wooden shutter, and no chimney. It was covered with four foot boards, made by hand, and fastened with wooden pegs. The benches were logs split open, making two benches from one log. There was a partition in the first church building to reserve places for the negroes. A shed was at the back of the building, and two logs were sawed out of the main building, so they could see the preacher.

The Boiling Springs Baptist Church was organized on the fifteenth day of September, 1847. The first church roll on record was composed of 65 members, both men and women. Their only transportation was horseback or wagon; many walked five or six miles to church. In cold weather, the people would build a fire on the outside, and get warm before they went inside to hear the sermon. Once, they forgot to put the fire out, and the wind began to blow and scatter the fire. The church caught on fire and burned to the ground. The Woods Meeting House was gone, but it did not stop the people from worshipping and fellowshipping.

Church Building 2 (~1850 – 1906)

It is not known exactly when the second church building was erected, but it was more than likely in the early 1950’s, a few years after the church’s official organization. It was constructed near the spring, where Gardner-Webb University campus is now. The old records state that the building was in the approximate area in which the old John R. Dover Library was later built. This would place it in the region of the present Craig Building, between the Withrow Science Building and Gardner Hall. This church was called Boiling Springs Baptist Church. The building was made of wood and had two doors and a window on the west side. A door was at the south end of the building and three windows on the east side of the building. The pulpit was in the middle of the house on the east side, and there were benches on each side of the pulpit. During these days the men and women did not sit together. The men sat on one side, and the women on the other side. The benches in this white wooden church were hand made. There was one wide plank to sit on, and another wide plank at the back to lean on. There was an open place between the seat and the back, with a narrow plank at the bottom to rest the feet on.

Services were held twice each month, one Saturday and one Sunday, with the business of the church transacted on Saturday.

The first lights were homemade candles. Later they got a few tin oil lamps, which hung on the wall and there was an oil chandelier over the choir. No musical instruments were in this church. When they sang old hymns, an elderly gentleman was usually asked to raise the tune. People sang wholeheartedly and really felt what they were singing. After the church bought an organ, Mrs. Mary Susen Wood was the first organist and Mr. R.M. White led the singing. The church did not have a baptistery inside, but had a wooden pool in the branch below the church spring. It had a wooden floor and wooden steps to go down into the pool. When new members were baptized, there was a small wooden one room house for the women and girls to dress in, and the men and boys went to the bushes to dress. During the Clifton Flood, the wooden pool house was washed away and was never rebuilt. After that, when they had baptizings, the men would build a pond in the branch right below the spring and the candidates were baptized there. Sometimes they would build ponds in other branches nearby to baptize in. Sometimes the candidates were carried to Main Broad River to be baptized. Mr. Wesley Lee was the first sexton of the church, and he always kept the building and the grounds, and the spring cleaned. He also made sure there were always flowers for the church services, even if he had to gather wildflowers.

W. Bryson Padgett was the first pastor, serving until 1851 His salary was very small.

Church Building 3 (1906-1921)

C.W. Salter was the next elected pastor. During his pastorate from 1903 to 1906, he led the people to see the dire need of a new and larger building. The new church, third building, was located where the Gardner Webb Dover Chapel now stands on South Main Street. It was a lovely church, with very beautiful stained glass windows. There were several standard size windows, and they had stained glass in them too. There was a bell tower, and it had windows or ventilators. The church had two doors on the front, and a small entrance under the bell tower. There were carbon lights in this church, and they made a very good light. There were no Sunday School rooms so each class met in different areas of the sanctuary. It was difficult to hear your own teacher. One man stood on a bench to teach his class, and he could be heard all over the house. After class, they had a general assembly in which they would ask questions about the Sunday School lesson and someone would answer.The sanctuary had a row of long benches in the middle and two rows of short benches on each side. The women sat on the short benches on the north side, and the boarding high school girls sat on the row of short benches next to the wall on the north side. The young community girls sat on the north end of the long benches and the young boys sat on the south end of the long benches. On Sunday night the young women and young men sat together. The older men sat on the short benches on the south side of the church.

The choir sat on the first three or four benches in the middle, directly in front of the organ and the pulpit. The organ was a pump organ and it was in front of the pulpit. The choir was composed of volunteer members, and always had a very good singing. They sang hymns that made you want to worship. J.C. Lovelace was choir leader for many years, and Ophus and Esley Green, and their uncle Tommy Green led the singing part of the time. It was heated with two large wood heaters, one on each side of the middle aisle. Mr. Wylie Hamrick served as sexton for many years. He kept the church clean, and kept fires during the winter. It was hard for him to please everyone. Those who sat near the stoves would complain about being hot, and those who were not sitting near the stove would complain about being cold. This church did not have a baptistery. When they baptized, they either had to build a pond in a stream or take the candidates to a neighboring church. Later the church built a cement pool in the yard back of the church. Interest kept growing, so on August 2, 1913, a committee was appointed to take into consideration plans for enlargement or remodeling of church, so no enlargement was made at this time. The church continued to worship in the same building until 1920, when we decided to build another church, the members of Green Bethel Church felt the need of a bigger and better church building. They agreed to buy our church building in its entirety.

Church Building 4 (1921-1969)

Rev. W.G. Moore was chosen as the next pastor.

It was while he was with us between 1918 and 1921, that we definitely saw the need of a better and larger building. The erection of the fourth Boiling Springs Baptist Church sanctuary was begun in 1920. The plan was taken from a church in Fountain Inn, SC. It was a beautiful church, and it had a dome instead of a steeple and it had four large column posts on the front facing the Main Street. The erection of this building seemed an enormous task because it was erected when both labor and materials were high. The cost of the building amounted to $65,000. While the church was under the construction services were held in one of the Boiling Springs High School buildings.

With the growth of all the organizations of the church, more space was needed so additional rooms were added to the church building. The ground breaking for the new educational building was held on December 31, 1950. Two educational buildings were added immediately behind the sanctuary to serve as the educational plant.

In September of 1958, Reverend T. Max Linnens accepted the pastorate. In 1959 the total church membership had grown to 872. A Stewardship emphasis indicated 190 tithers. A big financial step was taken when the church set aside of reserve fund of $1000 per month, during 1959, 1960, and 1961 for a building fund. After months of prayer, study, meetings, and untiring efforts of the committees, a very important decision was made by our church on November 16, 1961, the church voted to accept the plans as set forth by the Long-Range Planning Committee for a building program. As the year 1961 came to a close, we found that our church membership stood at 1006, the highest history of our church since its beginning.

Previously, Boiling Springs Baptist Church had discussed the possibility of building a new sanctuary within Quinn Circle just south of the existing sanctuary and connecting the sanctuary with one part of the educational plant. These buildings were directly across the street from the E.B. Hamrick Hall and the Huggins-Curtis Building, which burned in 1957.

In the 1960’s the church began seriously considering the possibility of moving to a new site. Both the College and the church were growing. If the church moved to a site outside Quinn Circle, the College might buy the church property which was directly in front of the campus.

In 1966 negotiations began between committees from the Trustees of Gardner-Webb College and Boiling Springs Baptist Church which resulted in the sale of the church property to the college. During 1967-1969 the College had classes in these buildings during the week, and the church used the buildings for regular services on Sunday and Wednesday evenings and occasional meetings.

The old sanctuary was at first converted into a lovely theatre and a number of productions were presented there. C.Robert Jones, Director of Theatre Arts, conceived the idea of developing the sanctuary into a theatre by comparing its architecture with several European opera houses. At the time, it was felt that an opera house could benefit the town and surrounding areas. An article in the student newspaper, The Pilot, in October 1970, reported that the Opera House might be razed with a chapel being placed on that site. There was a student petition to save the theatre, but in a Pilot interview with Dr. E. Eugene Poston, president of Gardner-Webb College at the time, he declared the old sanctuary a fire trap lacking running water and adequate heat.

Workmen began tearing down the building in 1971.

Church Building 5 (1969-present)

Dreams and visions began to take shape into reality as our church launched its new building program. Our church purchased thirty-seven acres of land from the J.L. Pruett children in 1967. Construction of the new sanctuary and educational building on the new site began in February, 1968.

Rev. T. Max Linnens was pastor from 1958 to 1985. During his pastorate the dreams and visions and movement took place. He led the people of the Boiling Springs Baptist Church to their new home on October 19, 1969.

The building program included a new sanctuary to seat 1000 persons and an additional educational plant to provide for an enrollment of 1,200. The sanctuary and educational plant when completed would be a monument of glory and pride for many generations. The building contained over 38,000 square feet of floor space, and were zoned for heating and cooling by electricity. The building contained over 38,000 square feet of floor space, and were zoned for heating and cooling by electricity. The building site consists of 37 acres of seeded lawn, and 15,400 square yards of paved roads and parking space. Thus, a greater Christian church was predicted for the future. This undertaking was a challenge for everyone.

The buildings were of a traditional architecture being designed in the American Colonial style, which was strongly influenced by the Georgian style that was developed in England during the colonial period of our history. Many of the details, such as the brick arches, the molded brick window sills and steps, the wood trim and cornice moldings, the black and brass entrance lanterns and the outside post lanterns captured the character and spirit of Colonial Williamsburg. The sand finished antique brick were laid using a gray buff colored mortar in a traditional pattern with a tooled and scored joint. The mortar joint color was complemented by the off-white color of the paint used on all the exterior woodwork in order to blend and soften the entire building. A 122-foot tower of classical design used pilasters and pediments of the Tuscan order similar to those on the main portico. The lightness and gracefulness of the tower was accented by the eight open arches of the top tier and the slender spire. The spire was covered with lock-joint lead-coated copper to form a contrast with the painted woodwork and the gold anodized cross at the top.

The interior spaces of the Sanctuary wing were designed in the same architectural style as the exterior, with off-white paneled wainscots, pilasters, cornices, and trim. The pews, pulpit and furnishings in the sanctuary were all designed and custom built to match the interior details of the building. The handsome, leaded glass windows are of a unique design using all hand blown stained glass set in the colonial wood sash. The classical barrel vault of the sanctuary ceiling adds to the spaciousness and acoustical qualities of the main worship area.

As the town of Boiling Springs and the surrounding community has grown over the last 36 years, as have our programs.

As we have sought to reach out to all persons in the area, we have expanded our ministries, therefore we expanded our church building. In 1997, our church started its “Together We Build” program. Three phases of building expansion and renovations have brought our church into the twenty first century. Phase I began in November, 1998. A.A. Ramsey and Son construction company was given the job of building us a new educational wing, including new Sunday School class rooms, new bathroom facilities, a larger, fully-equipped kitchen, a new, larger dining room, a new Fellowship Hall, and new parking areas. Phase II started in September / October, 1999, with renovations on our existing educational building. A new hall connector to the sanctuary and a new elevator was also added. Phase III of our building program began in March, 2000, adding a Life Enrichment Center to our existing structure.