|City/Town: • Anadarko
|Location Class: • Church
|Built: • 1914 | Abandoned: • N/A
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (December 11, 2007) • African American Heritage Site
|Status: • Abandoned
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • Emily Cowan • Keith Beeson
The First Baptist Church (Colored) – Anadarko is unarguably one of the most significant structures of the town. Not only for the African American community that it served but all of the community. The one-story concrete baptist church displays a cornerstone on the front with the date April 24, 1910, Rev. E.N. Gaines name was also listed on the cornerstone. This date signified the congregation’s previous one-room wooden building that was soon after burned down. This called for a “fireproof” building made of concrete to be constructed and replace it in 1914. A town elder by the name of Anna May Brown attended the church as a teenager. She recalls that the First Baptist Church “was the first church in Anadarko for either Blacks or Whites and was the primary social focal point for the Anadarko Black community from 1910 to around 1964”.
The First Baptist Church congregation remained in the building until it was time for a more modern and bigger facility. They purchased property right across the street and ground was broken in October 1961. A year later the congregation decided on a new name, the Greater First Baptist Church and then held their last services in the old building in 1963 before completely moving into the new building. The trustees of Greater First Baptist Church had to come to the heartbreaking decision of selling the former First Baptist Church (Colored) in September 1964 as it sat vacant awaiting a new life. The Board of Trustees for Church of the Living God C.W.F.F. purchased the building and held services in it until approximately the 1980s-90s.
With no added rooms, renovations, or any kind of alterations to the building it qualified for the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination was filled out and due to its historical significance to the African American community was entered in the NRHP on December 11, 2007. In recent years a few have attempted to restore the building but have failed, it continues to sit vacant waiting for a new purpose.
“First Baptist Church (Colored)!” The Bill Beaver Project, 20 Jan. 2019, thebillbeaverproject.com/2018/11/04/first-baptist-church-colored/.
“Image 1 of Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Anadarko, Caddo County, Oklahoma.” The Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/resource/g4024am.g4024am_g069771916/?sp=1&r=-0.013,0.34,0.253,0.181,0.
NPGallery Search, npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/da952646-8b10-4944-a53c-52bd774ef0f8.
Oklahoma Historical Society, www.okhistory.org/shpo/architsurvey/ILSofNENeighborhood.pdf.
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