Greene County Arkansas

Paragould, Arkansas

Centennial Edition Section 1


 Paragould Daily Press, Monday, August 29,  1983                                                                                                                    Section 1, Centennial Edition--15








Photo courtesy Jack Meriwether

The Paragould Opera House, located at the corner of Court
and Second streets, was built by W. J. McDonald in 1893 to
replace an earlier theater that burned. According to a biography
written by his daughter, the late Ora Yantis, after the fire Mc-
Donald "took it upon himself to give the city an elegant theater with all the appointments of those in our metropolitan centers including a foyer, inclined floor, boxes, gallery and so on. This was ably managed by his son-in-law, Frank S. Yantis.However, it proved to be too large for the support of the city of its size


Photo courtesy Talma Buchanan Hayes

and knowing the Baptist congregation was in need of a better building, he made them an offer to donate a sum equal to any of their membership in the purchase of same."  In 1900, the First Baptist Church congregation bought and remodeled the build-ing, using it until its present chuch was constructed in 1924.
These pictures indicate the church added a steeple, removed the
exterior balcony, changed the half-circle front window and altered the name and date at the top of the building.


Pruett's Chapel United Methodist

   Pruett's Chapel United Methodist Church began around 1858 and is currently located on Pruett's Chapel Road. The church has 40 active members. In the early 1800s, a log building was constructed in a grove of trees off what is now Finch Road and was called Pleasant Grove church. In 1879, the Pruett family deeded an acre of land to the church at the present building site and a frame building was erected by J. A. Hart and his father. The name was changed to Pruett's Chapel
   Through the years, Pruett's Chapel has been a relatively small, family church serving many of the pioneer families of the Greene County. Among early ministers were I. A. Vernon, J. S. Watson, W. M. Watson, Tom Brown, W. B. Roe, H. E. Many and F. B. Williamson.The church building was remodeled several times. In 1973 the present colonial type brick building was begun and finished this year. The Rev. Bob Burnham is pastor.

Second and Walnut Church of Christ

   Second and Walnut Church of Christ, now meeting at Second and Walnut Streets, began on Sept. 6, 1885, when a group of people simply calling them-selves Christians met in the office of L. C. Thompson near the railroad. The next year a house of worship was erected at the southeast corner of Court and Fourth Streets. During the first several years only vocal music was used in the worship. However, about the year 1901, instrumental music was introduced into the worship over the protest of several elders. This resulted in a division of the congregation.
   For about four years the church met in a house owned by W. R. Smith in the present Reynold building. During 1905, a little frame meeting house was built at 213 N. Fourth Ave. The church grew and has purchased several lots and buildings. In September, 1976 Paul C. Keller, who had served as evangelist from 1957-63, returned to work with the church and continues as pastor. There are currently 220 members.

Griffin Memorial United Methodist

Griffin Memorial United Methodist Church, originally called Eastside Methodist Episcopal Church, South, originated in 1903. The name was changed to Griffin Memorial in the mid-1940s. It was built on one acre of ground given by Richard Jackson. The original parsonage was built in 1914 in one day by the men, while the women prepared dinner and supper. The new sanctuary at 524 E. Court St. was built in 1953 while the Rev. J. Harmon Holt was pastor. The educational building was added in 1970; the Rev. J. Albert Gatlin was pastor. There are currently 481 members and Gerald K. Rainwater is the pastor.

First Church of God

   The First Church of God at the corner of 6 1/2 and West Locust streets was established in 1909. Terry Lee Adams Sr. is the pastor. The non-denomin-ational church started as part of the Reformation Movement that began more than 100 years ago. It has been built in three stages; the last addition was added in 1977. The average attendance for 1983 is 75.

East Side Baptist Church

   East Side Baptist Church originated in May 12, 1912 and has held services in its present location at East Poplar Street and Sixth Avenue since 1968. A new educational building was constructed in 1982. The church has 857 members. The Rev. Jim Fowler is the pastor. Sam Willcoxon, D. C. Applegate Jr., Jeff Rousseau, J. Russell Duffer and Jess Holcomb were past ministers.

First Prebyterian Church

   The First Prebyterian Church at 307 S. Seventh St. was established on Dec. 29, 1918. Dr. Robert K. Bennett is the pastor.The first location was at 324 W. Garland St., the home of pastor Thomas Watkins, who organized the church. The next location was the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Second and Poplar streets. The services were held in these two locations from 1918 to 1921. In 1921 the present building was constructed. The church has 78 members.
   Former pastors include Thomas Watkins, William Denham, James W. McNutt, C. T. McCulley, John Wingard, John Brannon, Jack Rorex, Dr. Charley Robinson and Ernest P. Scott. Interim pastor in many instances was Dr. Thomas McSpadden, retired minister in residence.

St. Mark's United Methodist Church

   St. Mark's United Methodist Church at 414 Newton St. originated in 1921. The Rev. Randy Rowlan is the pastor. The church has 45 members.
The building in which St. Mark's members now worship was formerly the Wietchieben Memorial Presbyterian Church. It was a memorial built in honor of the Wietchiebens' only child who at an early age had committed his life to God as a missionary, but died at 13 after contacting a disease. Before he died, he asked that his insurance be spent in building a mission church in northern Arkansas where he had plans to come and missionary work.
   Delphia McSpadden and the Rev. J. N. Threlkeld organized the present building into a Presbyterian church, and worked for 37 years at the present site. Threlkeld died in 1945 and McSpadden fell and broke her hip and was unable to carry on the work. The building and land was sold for $4,000 in 1958 to the United Methodist Conference, and the St. Mark's United Methodist Church was organized with 38 charter members.

Immanuel Baptist Church

   Immanuel Baptist Church began as a mission from the First Baptist Church on Oct. 11, 1939. It was called the Southside Mission and was located in a frame store building at 812 S. Fifth St. After the congregation outgrew the store building, a new structure was built in 1942 across from Baldwin Elementary School. The Southside Mission became a church Feb. 20, 1955, and the name was changed to Immanuel Baptist Church with Emmitt Pipkins as the pastor.
   A growing membership resulted in building the current church at 607 W. Mueller St. in October, 1963. Martin Sifford is the pastor, and the church has 308 members.

Calvary Baptist Church

   Calvary Baptist Church was established April 16, 1947 and occupied its current location at the corner of Rector and Bard Roads in 1979.
James Branscum is the pastor of the church, which has 288 members.The First Baptist Church of Paragould authorized the organization of a mission in the north end of the city. The first pastor was Erby Butler. First Baptist Church later bought property for the purpose of erecting a church building on the corner of Bard Road. Junior Vestor was pastor for 12 1/2 years. While he was there, the two additions were added to the original structure twice. A new building was built in 1979. Branscum took over as pastor on July 9, 1980.

All Saints Episcopal Church

   All Saints Episcopal Church came into being as an established Episcopal mission in 1950. In the beginning, services were held in the Presbyterian Church. Then on May 7, 1951, the mission bought the property where the present church stands, at the corner of 10th and Main streets. Construction of the sanctuary began shortly thereafter, and on Nov. 1, 1951 (All Saints Day), the first service was held at the church. In 1959, a parish hall was added.
   The Rev. John DeForest Pettus served as the mission's first priest. The Rev. Cham Canon was the last priest; he left this month. Over the years, All Saints has been served by 14 priests. The church has 85 members. In 1981, the ecumenical Sermons and Soups program was begun during the Lenten season, featuring pastors from different denominations. In 1983, the program was jointly sponsored with St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Lake Street Baptist Church

   Lake Street Baptist Church, a mission of East Side Baptist Church, was built on the corner of Smith and Lake Streets. Only a slab of concrete of the original mission remains today. On April 20, 1952, the mission was organized into a church. Joe Hester was the first pastor of the church and since then, the church has been expanded three times. Wayne Faulkner has been the minister since February 1981. The church now has 141 members.

14th Street Church of God

   The 14th Street Church of God began in the mid 1950s in a tin building near Robert Ward's grocery store, which today is Pat and Mike's.
Samuel H. Myres is the minister; and there are 66 members. About 1959, with Stanley Sloan as minister, members purchased the lot at 115 N. 14th St., where the church currently stands and erected a building. An addition was built during the pastorage of J. T. Butler in 1973.

Redeemer Lutheran Church

   1983 marks the 25th anniversary of the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church, which began in the spring of 1958. Three Lutheran families, who where members of St. John's Lutheran Church at Lafe, mentioned the necessity of starting a Lutheran mission in Paragould. There are currently 111 members and the Rev. Timothy Paul Azzam has been the minister since June 27, 1982.
   Two previous attempts had been made in 1921 and in 1933. In 1933 and 1934 services were held in the Presbyterian Church in Paragould and on Sunday afternoons conducted by the Rev. W. Wiech.
   In May 1958 the Rev. H. C. Harting, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, spent several weeks in Paragould making 400 house calls. A number of former Lutherans were found. With the aid of the western district (now divided into smaller districts) of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Church extension fund, $20,000 was advanced for the purchase of the present site and the conversion of the existing house into a chapel. The first service was held on Nov. 2, 1959; the chapel was dedicated on Nov. 30. Pastor Harting of Lafe served the congregation until January 1962. The Rev. Harting was succeeded by the Rev. Lloyd E. Groenke who had been serving at Benton. Groenke also served the recently organized Pilgrim Lutheran Church at Jonesboro. He remained pastor of the two congregations until September 1966. An A-frame worship structure was dedicated in February 1967. During construction, services were held in the old public library.

East Main Church of Christ

   East Main Church of Christ began in 1965 as an outgrowth of the planning of elders of the Second and Walnut Church of Christ. The property was purchased and funds started several years before the work began. In 1965, Hollis Creel, minister, and about 30 members volunteered to begin the work.     Succeeding preachers have been Raymond Harville, Bill Thrasher and Herbert Knight. Only nine original members are included in the present membership of about 60. Zane Gray is the pastor.

Family of God Church

   The Family of God Church was established in July, 1980 at Lamb's Cafeteria before it moved to 415 Linwood Drive. It moved to its present location at 1601 W. Kingshighway in 1981. The church began with 35 people and has had a record high of 1,400. In 1982, it was named the state's second fastest growing church of any denomination. The pastor is Dr. Hank Deslatte and there are currently about 500 members.

Harvest Baptist Church

   The Harvest Baptist Church, which originated in 1981, is one of two independent fundamental Baptist churches in Paragould. Pastor Larry Ring organized the church, which originally held services in the Jaycees building, with nine members.
   The congregation moved to 400 E. Kingshighway in May 1981, then purchased an older building at 304 E. Vine St. in September of that year. Church members are currently renovating that building.


Page 16 Section 1


Transcribed from the 1983 Centennial Edition by : PR Massey

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