School Building Mystery - SOLVED?




Last week, I posted an old (and undated) photograph of what I assumed was a school building, and asked readers if they knew where it was. Well, it only took keen-eyed realtor and history buff Joe Spake about one hour to find the building and send me a nice photo as it looks today (above). As you can see, it's changed very little over the years, and is now home to the Calvary Rescue Mission. Too bad that their sign covers up some of the fine architectural ornamentation on the front of the building, but I'm glad it's still standing. The address, if you want to see for yourself, is 960 South Third.

But was it a school? Apparently not, and a second look at the original photo makes me realize this was a broader group of people (in age, I mean) than would have attended a school. So I dug through old city directories, which is how I spend my Saturday nights, and determined that in the late 1930s through the late 1940s (when the original photo was taken), the building was the First Assembly of God Church, the Rev. Albert Pickthorn, pastor. Later, the Rev. James Hamill took over.

By the early 1950s, there is no longer any listing for the First Assembly of God Church in the phone books. The handsome building became home to the "Railroad Branch" of the YMCA, where it housed railroad workers and, according to the city directories, which can be a bit cryptic, apparently served as offices for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Firemen, Railway Clerks, Railway Trainmen, and some 40 other locomotive-related organizations.

Oh yeah, and at the same time, 960 South Third was home to La Belle Baptist Mission and something called the Sword of Bunker Hill. My goodness, that building must be a lot larger on the inside than it looks on the outside!

In the 1960s, it was taken over by some company called Motel Salvage. Calvary Rescue Mission, a group that has helped the Lauderdales more than they should, moved in sometime in the 1970s.

Thanks again, Joe.



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