A historic black church is being saved from demolition as a community pulls together in the effort.
In September 2014, the planned demolition of Timmons Temple in Springfield, Mo. was brought to the attention of residents looking for a way to preserve the landmark. The developers of Greenway Studios met with the Friends of Timmons Temple and a park board member to discuss the options of relocating the building to the adjacent historic park.
A $70,000 donation toward the cost of relocation from a developer, Brent Brown, became the catalyst to save the structure. “When communities come together, it can be a very powerful thing,” he said.
Other community donors followed his lead, and that momentum gave the project real hope of becoming a reality.
Historians say about 90 percent of Springfield’s black residents attended some type of event at the church in its early years.
“Brent and his partner’s generous gift made saving Timmons Temple possible,” local historian David Eslick said. “We need more developers like Brent that see the value in working together for what is best for the community. His leadership was crucial in making this move a reality.”
Timmons Temple was built in 1932. Historians say about 90 percent of Springfield’s black residents attended some type of event at the church. “People used to line the sidewalk in the park to hear the music that poured out of that church,” said Shirley Blakley, one of the earliest members of Timmons Temple.
“To be a local, sustainable, vibrant community, we must save places where we can go to explore heritage, learn about the past and grow a bright future for the next generation,” said Paula Ringer, president of Friends of Timmons Temple. “We are delighted that the generous Springfield community, donors, developers and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board joined with us in this important effort to successfully relocate and preserve this monument of faith. This culturally, historically and architecturally significant landmark has been saved for all to experience.”
Now successfully relocated and renovated, the historic Timmons Temple has been renamed Timmons Hall and is managed by Springfield-Greene County Park Board.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice