FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH - 1004 MORNING GLORY

1004MorningGlory_0679.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2010_12/1000MorningGlory_aerial_W_1950s.jpg1000MG_1979.jpg1004MG_1984.jpg/sites/default/files/images/2010_12/freewillbaptist_mg_120510.jpg

FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH - 1004 MORNING GLORY

1004
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1907-1913
/ Modified in
1980-1990
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
,
Type: 
Use: 

Comments

  • Submitted by eutew738 on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 7:35am

    If someone could do a comprehensive study of Free Will Baptist churches in Durham, as opposed, to, so say, Southern Baptist churches in Durham, that would be quite interesting.

    My one-paragraph synopsis of the two, in the 20th century, is that Southern Baptist Churches represented the middle to upper middle classes in Durham, while Free Will Baptists represented the lower middle class. Those who really want to get into the details can research the Rev. Billy Morris,

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 12:43am

    Does inclusion in this blog imply that there is historical significance to this structure? It's one of the least appealing churches in town (slightly better than "House of Refuge" though!)

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 4:42pm

    Looks more like a "House of Ugly."

  • Submitted by John Martin on Friday, December 17, 2010 - 3:56am

    @ Anon #1 and Anon #2: Lighten up. You were expecting Chartres Cathedral, perhaps? "Historical significance," Anon #1, is not the same as "aesthetic brilliance." The historical significance of this church is that it accurately reflects the material poverty of the people who built it and the place and time in which it was built. Surely this ought to be apparent if you've even barely scanned Gary's entries.

    In years past, Edgemont and Morning Glory have been devastated by ruinous government decisions, larcenous non-profits, and egocentrically run charities. But despite the damage, in the last few years, the neighborhood has begun to heal.

    I live across the street from this church. The church was vacant for awhile, and the present congregation has only been there for a year or so. They are a small, energetic African-American congregation who have already taken steps to try to improve the appearance of the building by painting it and planting flowers. They have services and other activities almost every day. They are an active and welcome part of a recovering neighborhood.

    You want to talk about ugly? Go look at the Health Department building that the county is constructing downtown in a style that is probably best described as "Soviet Moderne." That's the House of Ugly.

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 19, 2010 - 1:00am

    Of course I wasn't expecting Chartres cathedral in East Durham. I just don't understand why a cinder block building is being written up in this blog. It's a perfect example of urban blight.

  • Submitted by Gary on Sunday, December 19, 2010 - 4:16pm

    Anon

    The website is about more than how pretty a building is, although that is a component of what I'm presenting. It's also about the history of Durham, the small and large institutions - commercial, religious, civic, etc. - that have provided a continuity of what 'is' Durham over time, and the people that have shaped Durham's history, all told through the lens of the buildings that have housed, supported, or been identified with them. It's about how we lose ties with elements that give Durham's history a richness and depth when we erase these buildings from the landscape; applying a "historical significance" test is in the eye of the beholder. I see a small African-American congregation that built a small church in the early 20th century (similar to many others that once appeared throughout Hayti, the Bottoms, the West End, Brookstown, etc. ) Why here? In the middle of a mostly white mill village? Who were the congregants and where did they live? Did they walk down from the East End? Were there African-American families interspersed among the mostly white denizens of the mill village? Did they work at the factory? When did the factory integrate? Why didn't the church expand when more African-Americans moved to Edgemont and Morning Glory in the 1960s? Did the congregants move to other Baptist churches?......

    In short, I find the presence of the church a fascinating opportunity for exploring the evolution of a neighborhood, geographic and industrial racial segregation, poverty, splits between various religious denominations, and yes - the plain architecture (although once adorned by a steeple) of such small, impoverished churches. Was this preceded by a frame church, as most of these churches were? Why was the steeple removed? Why wasn't this long bulldozed as so many of these small churches have been.

    GK

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Monday, December 20, 2010 - 12:08am

    I guess ugly really is only skin deep.The beauty in this building is the memories it represents for me growing up.Sitting on my grandparents porch,with a full stomach, after eating one of my meemaa's great Sunday dinners, listening to the music and the rejoicing coming from inside of this building and watching the well dressed congregation leaving after the services were over.

  • Submitted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 1:45pm

    I lived in the community in the early 1950's. I recall this church as a Holiness congregation of caucasian members. My father worked at the GB many years. I have a 1923 picture of the employees and management taken in front of the mill.

  • Submitted by Frank Breeden on Friday, August 23, 2013 - 11:01am

    Is there a place where that photograph of the Mill employees can be seen? My grandparents worked at that mill during that time and would love to be able to identify them if pictured. Thanks.

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Last updated

  • Sun, 02/03/2019 - 2:07am by gary

Location

35° 59' 20.7456" N, 78° 53' 22.5672" W

Comments

1004
,
Durham
NC
Built in
1907-1913
/ Modified in
1980-1990
Construction type: 
Local historic district: 
National Register: 
Neighborhood: 
,
Type: 
Use: 

 

1004MorningGlory_0679.jpg

June 1979

"The Lord House" at 1004 Morning Glory started life as the Free Will Baptist Church, built sometime between 1913 and 1937. It appears that, although both Edgemont and Morning Glory were, during the early to mid 20th century, predominantly white communities, the congregation of the Free Will Baptist Church has always been predominantly African-American.


Aerial looking east, late 1950s. A steeple is evident atop the small church.

Charlie Gibbs once related to me that he and his friends would sneak away and around the block from the square dances held on the second floor of 952 East Main Street to hear the rockin' music emanating from the Baptist Church, which they much preferred.

1000MG_1979.jpg

The view west on Morning Glory Ave, 1979

In 1984, the church lost its original steeple and was encased in concrete block.

1004MG_1984.jpg

1984 (SHPO)

The church continued to house an active congregation through 2012.

As of late 2012, the building is under renovation by a new owner, who, via secondhand sources, intends to build off the success of Golden Belt by building additional artist studio space for the area.

That space opened in 2013 as SPECTRE Arts, run by Alicia Lange

08.23.13 (G. Kueber)

Comments

If someone could do a comprehensive study of Free Will Baptist churches in Durham, as opposed, to, so say, Southern Baptist churches in Durham, that would be quite interesting.

My one-paragraph synopsis of the two, in the 20th century, is that Southern Baptist Churches represented the middle to upper middle classes in Durham, while Free Will Baptists represented the lower middle class. Those who really want to get into the details can research the Rev. Billy Morris,

Does inclusion in this blog imply that there is historical significance to this structure? It's one of the least appealing churches in town (slightly better than "House of Refuge" though!)

Looks more like a "House of Ugly."

@ Anon #1 and Anon #2: Lighten up. You were expecting Chartres Cathedral, perhaps? "Historical significance," Anon #1, is not the same as "aesthetic brilliance." The historical significance of this church is that it accurately reflects the material poverty of the people who built it and the place and time in which it was built. Surely this ought to be apparent if you've even barely scanned Gary's entries.

In years past, Edgemont and Morning Glory have been devastated by ruinous government decisions, larcenous non-profits, and egocentrically run charities. But despite the damage, in the last few years, the neighborhood has begun to heal.

I live across the street from this church. The church was vacant for awhile, and the present congregation has only been there for a year or so. They are a small, energetic African-American congregation who have already taken steps to try to improve the appearance of the building by painting it and planting flowers. They have services and other activities almost every day. They are an active and welcome part of a recovering neighborhood.

You want to talk about ugly? Go look at the Health Department building that the county is constructing downtown in a style that is probably best described as "Soviet Moderne." That's the House of Ugly.

Of course I wasn't expecting Chartres cathedral in East Durham. I just don't understand why a cinder block building is being written up in this blog. It's a perfect example of urban blight.

Anon

The website is about more than how pretty a building is, although that is a component of what I'm presenting. It's also about the history of Durham, the small and large institutions - commercial, religious, civic, etc. - that have provided a continuity of what 'is' Durham over time, and the people that have shaped Durham's history, all told through the lens of the buildings that have housed, supported, or been identified with them. It's about how we lose ties with elements that give Durham's history a richness and depth when we erase these buildings from the landscape; applying a "historical significance" test is in the eye of the beholder. I see a small African-American congregation that built a small church in the early 20th century (similar to many others that once appeared throughout Hayti, the Bottoms, the West End, Brookstown, etc. ) Why here? In the middle of a mostly white mill village? Who were the congregants and where did they live? Did they walk down from the East End? Were there African-American families interspersed among the mostly white denizens of the mill village? Did they work at the factory? When did the factory integrate? Why didn't the church expand when more African-Americans moved to Edgemont and Morning Glory in the 1960s? Did the congregants move to other Baptist churches?......

In short, I find the presence of the church a fascinating opportunity for exploring the evolution of a neighborhood, geographic and industrial racial segregation, poverty, splits between various religious denominations, and yes - the plain architecture (although once adorned by a steeple) of such small, impoverished churches. Was this preceded by a frame church, as most of these churches were? Why was the steeple removed? Why wasn't this long bulldozed as so many of these small churches have been.

GK

I guess ugly really is only skin deep.The beauty in this building is the memories it represents for me growing up.Sitting on my grandparents porch,with a full stomach, after eating one of my meemaa's great Sunday dinners, listening to the music and the rejoicing coming from inside of this building and watching the well dressed congregation leaving after the services were over.

I lived in the community in the early 1950's. I recall this church as a Holiness congregation of caucasian members. My father worked at the GB many years. I have a 1923 picture of the employees and management taken in front of the mill.

Is there a place where that photograph of the Mill employees can be seen? My grandparents worked at that mill during that time and would love to be able to identify them if pictured. Thanks.

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