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Buda Back in the Day Video - First Baptist Church of Buda
"The church began way back in the 1800's before Buda was actually a town, kind of out west of here.”
If these walls could speak, Buda’s First Baptist Church would have a lot to say.
“Initially it was not just a Baptist Church. It was multiple denominations that would share the church on different Sundays,” said Buddy Johnson, Pastor of First Baptist Church Buda.
Pastor Buddy Johnson has been with the church for 8 years, but his family’s association with the church goes way back.
“That’s where my grandparents went to church. My family is all from the Buda area. That building was the place where many of the folks who worship here now were saved and baptized in the building.”
The original church building was constructed in 1949 here on San Marcos Street, where it still stands today. But this wasn’t the church’s original home.
“When Buda was founded, this church moved into town and built a building over where Buda Elementary is now. That church eventually became First Baptist Church of Buda.”
Pictures of the old church building show that the building stood on the property where the historic campus of Buda Elementary is now located. The Baptist tabernacle was located nearby on the same property.
“In the late 1940’s they sold that property to the school system and brought this property over on the bluff that kind of overlooks Onion Creek. They built the building that sits on this property now.”
“That building that was by the school was a clapboard type building. When they brought this property and moved it that building was disassembled. The materials in that building were used to help build this building. There is a bell tower that sits on top of it. I’m not a hundred percent sure of when that bill was put in. We recently had some folks climb up and look at it and we can tell that it is very old.”
Today the original church building is used for a variety of activities, including as a social area for fellowship meals and bible studies.
“Where the tables are located now, this would’ve been where the pews are sitting. Up there where you see the front where our kitchen is now, that would’ve been where the pulpit and the and choir loft was back originally when the building was built. At that time there were two little rooms off to the side up there and one of those rooms was the pastor’s office. At that time, this was the only building they had. There was no other educational building or anything else. This was the only building on the site other than the Parsionage.”
You wouldn’t know by looking at the front of the building, but there is actually a lower level to the old church.
“The church of course was built on a bluff. And so this was sloped grassy areas coming down when this building was built. The stairs were built to have access to the lower level, which has a Sunday school structure in it.”
The underside of the church housed Sunday school space.
“There are four classrooms down here and bathrooms down on the end. They would have used this for bible study since this was the only building they had on the property.”
The memories extend beyond the buildings.
“At one time when Buda was kind of a town much smaller than it is now, there wasn’t a lot of activity for young people. In the 1950s they built a sand volleyball court in the back of the church. On Sunday nights they would have these big volleyball tournaments and kids would come from everywhere to play volleyball over there. They would have church picnics and singing, dinner on the ground and those kind of things. They called it chigger flats because they would go down there and play games and they would get chiggers.”
They even used to perform Baptisms in Onion Creek as you can see in these photos.
On July 18, 1982, the First Baptist Church celebrated 100 years with a Centennial Service. Several notable Buda residents were on hand, including Dr. T.C. McCormick and his wife Mrs. Jerry McCormick, who in her 90’s, is still a member of the congregation today. The church received this congratulatory letter for its 100th anniversary from then President Ronald Reagan. A new historical marker was presented to the church, which now stands in front of the original building.
As the congregation began to grow, it became evident that a new building would need to be constructed. In 1984, construction began on the current sanctuary. Church members and the Baptist Men Builders all helped in getting the building complete. Later, an educational facility was constructed to accommodate the church’s various educational programs. In designing the new facilities, it was important to keep the same look of the original church building.
“That’s kind of unique to that structure. It’s kind of a style of rocking you don’t see a lot. When they built this building and when they built the educational building they tried to emulate that to give the building some cohesiveness.
Although services are no longer held in the original church building, in the current sanctuary there are still reminders of the past.
“This is the glass that came out of the stain glassed windows that were in the old church building on this property that was built in 1949. We put a picture of what that church would’ve looked like in 1949 when it was built. So you’ll notice it doesn’t have the front cover on it, that was added later.”
“This painting was gifted from a pharmaceutical company to the drugstore in Buda back in the 1920s. Now it’s a permanent part of our worship area where we can be reminded of our past here.”
“This is the veterans from the church. This actually hung in the old church over there from 1949. I’m told that years ago some men of the church were doing some cleaning out under the church and found this underneath the church and brought it out. What we love about is that it is kind of a connection to our past in that many of the families represented here are recognized as some of the oldest Buda families.”
And its deep roots in the community keep First Baptist Church of Buda an active congregation today.
“A lot of these families have a connection to this place and really care about it. That is a part of why we are still here. They see that historical connection to this area I think.”