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First Baptist Church, Johnston City, IL

February 28, 2015

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Anyone who grew up in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s knows that “downstate” Illinois is anything outside Cook County, which means anything beyond the political reach of Richard J. Daley, umpteen-term mayor of Chicago. I may actually know less about my own state than I do about others, even beyond the Midwest. So, Johnston City was a mystery when I first laid eyes on this card [sorry about the watermark; I’ll fix that when the card arrives]. My suspicions about its A-A-ness were confirmed when the accompanying interior view showed up during a google search. This appears to have been a C-1 type, where the Sunday School has been modified at some point to serve largely as an extension of the auditorium. The building survives and serves its congregation on Interstate 57 about an hour north of Cairo and the convergence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

PS (28April2017): Another better image of the exterior:

The church was built in 1914.

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One Comment
  1. David W. Jent permalink

    The First Baptist Church of Johnston City, Illinois, was built at a cost of $35,400, during a 9 month time period. An educational addition was made to the structure that compliments the integrity of the original sanctuary during the 1960’s. A magnificent structure, the original wood work exemplifies the purity and beauty of the Savior in which this congregation worships. The large sanctuary as depicted in the interior image may be divided by a retractable ornately carved folding door mechanism. Beautifully and intricately aligned symmetric stained glass windows and skylight compliments the dome as well as the beauty of the pipe organ. When the sanctuary is divided by the folding door, those that may enter the facility from the north entrance or the west entrance sometimes assume that the sanctuary appears to be fitting for this city with a population of 3,500. However, when this structure was planned and built, the population had soared due to the coal mining industry and migration of immigrants that would find work within these coal mines. When the folding doors are opened, the dome’s natural lighting as well as the matching balcony and main floor seating will comfortably seat upwards of 700 persons, which allowed the 14 different nationalities at that time that called First Baptist their place of worship, a place to celebrate the diversity and the love for their Savior. Having several interior images, I wish there was an avenue to share those with you here as well.

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