HISTORICAL MILESTONES of the WALNUT CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
PREPARED for the 150th ANNIVERSARY, June 2006
By Anna Galloway, Church Clerk
Rev. Robert Hay Taliaferro was serving as a Foreign Missionary in the mid-1840’s and was to accept an assignment. His choices were China and TEXAS. He chose to come to Texas. In 1847, he was the church planter for the Austin Church, now known as the First Baptist Church of Austin.
Eight members of the Austin Church who lived seven or more miles north of downtownAustinfelt that it would be better to have a church in their community. They lived in the rural school districts of Burdett,Summit, Fiskville, and Merrilltown. These school districts included the small communities of Sprinkle, Payton Gin, Watters and Duval. They invited Rev. Taliaferro to help organize theChurchofChristonWalnut Creek, now know asWalnut CreekBaptistChurch. At times the name of the church has beenRockChurch.
The first meetings were held in the Burdett School House. TheBurdettSchoolwas located on Walnut Creek, but a few miles east of the current church site. Discussions and meetings were held by the members regarding having a permanent building for their church, with various locations being suggested. The cemetery currently in use was begun as early as 1860. Locating the church near the cemetery was very likely the reason for making the final choice to locate farther west, but still on Walnut Creek.
The Original Rock building was built in 1861. The pulpit was at the north end of the room with the aisle running south to the only door of the church. It was heated in the winter by the use of fireplaces and the lighting was furnished by candles. The first services in the building were held on May 1, 1861. The church had no water supply, but did have an outdoor privy.
Additional surrounding land was purchased at a Sheriff’s sale held in 1870.
A strong wind storm took the roof off the building in 1882. The church’s congregation met in the newly built Summit School House. This one room school stood at the location of the current intersection ofBurnet RoadandLonghorn Drive. (During that time the currentBurnet Roadwas namedUpper Georgetown Roadand the road by the church was named The Georgetown Road.)
Many discussions and meetings were held regarding repairing the roof of the rock building or moving to another location. Finally the decision was made to repair the roof. This repair was completed in October 1884.
The lighting used in the church had become inadequate in 1923. Coleman lanterns were purchased to remedy this problem. It was about this time that the fireplaces were replaced with wood burning stoves.
The rock building served all functions of the congregation until 1927 when a small building was built for the Sunday School Classes. The dream for this building began in 1920, as it was at the close of that annual revival meeting when the first collection was taken for an annex to the church.
Carbide Systems for lighting became popular in 1930 and the members voted to replace the Coleman lanterns with a Carbide System.
Oral history mentions having brush arbors at various times and locations. The official church records list a brush arbor being built in 1934.
The Pastors that served from 1856 to 1936 had secured their residences privately. The members voted to build a parsonage. A two-bedroom parsonage was built in 1936 on the east side of US 81 (now Lamar Blvd.– just about whereMasterson StreetintersectsLamar Blvd.)
TheBaptistChurchin Pflugerville consolidated withWalnut CreekBaptistChurchin 1937. The attendance at revival services had grown quite large; therefore, the members chose to hold their 1937 revival services in the newly erected two-room Summit School House that was located on the northeast corner ofBurnet Road(still namedUpper Georgetown Road) and Kramer (Barnes) Lane.
It was in 1937 that the church had electric lights installed.
A campaign to build a Sunday School Wing began in 1941, this project took time to come to fruition.
Many times the church was found to have ‘tramps’ sleeping in the building, so locks were purchased and installed in 1942.
Finally, a 30 by 50 foot Sunday School Wing was built and attached to the west side of the church in 1945.
Funds were solicited during 1944 to buy a butane tank, stoves and the necessary plumbing. The butane heating system was installed in 1945.
The rock walls of the original building were plastered in 1946.
A new neighborhood was established south off Braker Lanenear the newly planned and constructed Interregional Highway 35 in the early 1950’s and many of the residents began attending the annual church revivals. This group expressed a desire to have services nearer their homes. A decision was made in 1952, to build a mission near this group of homes. Services were held on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons at the mission.
It was in 1951 that plans were drawn to build a new sanctuary that would require removing a section of the east wall of the rock building and design the direction of the aisle in the new addition to be east to west. The members wanted to insure that the original building would still be used during each service; thereby, creating the current location of the pulpit area, choir loft, and baptistery. This building addition was erected during 1952 and 1953. The small Sunday School Annex was moved and attached to the northwest corner of the rock building as part of this construction. Also, city water was piped to the church during this construction. The dedication service for the new sanctuary was held in June 1953, but the baptistery had not been completed at that time.
The current parsonage for the church was purchased on February 28, 1958.
Ground was broken in 1961 for construction of a Fellowship Hall to be located on the north side of the Sunday School Wing that was built in 1945.
Air conditioning with natural gas heat units, carpet, new pews, green velvet curtains for the baptistery, and new light fixtures were installed in 1965.
The area between the church and the creek was built up with fill dirt in 1972 in preparation for additional space at the church plant.
A building was erected to house the church offices, library, and nursery.
The windows in the sanctuary were replaced in 1978 with stained glass which depicts Christian themes.
The church operated a day care facility from 1980 until 1987.
A metal garage for the church van and a metal equipment building were purchased in 1997. A wind storm in 2003 caused repairable damage to the equipment building, but the garage was demolished and had to be replaced.
Written Histories on file at the church:
- 1952 Upon This Rock by Rev. Adrian W. Coleman
- 1956 Century of Christianity in a Christ Centered Church by Rev. Joe West
- 1962 Walnut Creek Baptist Church of Travis County,Texas by Dora Dieterich Bonham
- 1982 The Story of the Old Rock Church by Deborah Lynn Klingemann