First Baptist Church original S. Pearl design featured large columns

Joplin News First

This building was completed in 1926, according to Joplin Public Library records, in 1980 the columns were enclosed within the new foyer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Jasper County purchased the building from First Baptist Church in June of 2016. The church had previously purchased 19 acres at 4128 S. Connecticut in Newton County where they had already begun building.

This county for a time used the structure as the temporary Jasper County Juvenile Center. When the new Juvenile Center was complete in 2019 at 518 South Pearl this building at 633 North Pearl was scheduled to come down. It will make way for a new Jasper County Judicial Center at Joplin (court building).

The original structure featured columns on the west side and long steps leading up to the front doors. In 1980 the columns were encased within the structure as the new foyer was created (see exposed columns below in photo gallery.)

We talked to the demolition crew on Saturday and they told us they plan on being in Joplin for about two weeks. Not only are they tearing the building down, but they are also hauling it away.

This is the second building in Joplin where First Baptist Church met, 633 Sourth Pearl. Postcard credit: Joplin Public Library Digital Collections (used with permission). Read more details on the link.

Sources tell us in late 2019 First Baptist leaders declined the expensive process of removing the columns for their new building and relocating them to their new building at 4128 South Connecticut.

It was just not cost effective a current church member told us on Saturday standing at the site.

And on researching this story we found the columns were made of brick and covered in marble verneer. They were just slabs of marble, not solid. A worker on the site Saturday showed us (see image).

“Marble veneer is a thin layer of real marble installed over another surface to make it appear that the entire surface is real marble. This is done as a cost-cutting technique.”

Kallie Johnson, How to Care for Marble Veneer

According to the Joplin Public Library 633 South Pearl was the second location in Joplin for First Baptist Church. So South Connecticut would be the third location since beginning in 1893.

Services are Sundays, groups at 9:00 AM and worship at 10:30 AM. CLICK to view their website and new campus.

Image from First Baptist Joplin website.

“Pearl Ave. will be closed b/w 6th & 7th Streets during the demolition of the former church at 7th & Pearl Ave. Byers Ave. is the detour. Drivers will also experience a lane drop on westbound 7th St. for approximately two weeks. Work was planned to start Feb. 6. The demo is part of Jasper County’s construction for its new County Courthouse.”

Joplin City Government

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