The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the W. O. W. Hall with a big Thanksgiving dinner. Plates were sold for $1.00 each with the proceeds used to start the building fund. There were many more like it before the building was completed. It was so cold that day; the snow and ice were a foot deep all around the building, but what a beautiful day!
Brother Busch, our first pastor, was said to be “a great and good man, and also a builder.” Thus, in 1907 the first church house and pastor’s home were built on the same lot, which was donated by Dr. D. S. Perkins. It was located in the northwest corner of the present day Frasch Elementary School yard across from the “Old Fashion." It was a wooden structure with only one large room about thirty by sixty feet.
A storm demolished First Baptist on August 6, 1918, and badly damaged the pastor’s home. It was sold and moved off the lot. The lots were later sold to the Calcasieu Parish School Board, and all the lumber that could be salvaged from the church was used to build a tabernacle. While Brother Brooks was pastor in 1919, $1,000.00 was borrowed from the Home Mission Board to furnish the building. At that time the pastor’s salary was $150.00, and he held service two Sundays at Sulphur, one at Choupique, and one at Houston River.
We worshiped in the Methodist Tabernacle until our tabernacle was built in the southwest corner of our present property. This frame building served as a place of worship until 1920 when a brick building was erected during the pastorate of Rev. I. J. Brooks.
Later a two-story annex was added during the pastorate of Rev. W. H. Smith in 1937. In 1952, with Rev. H. H. O’Bier as pastor, a $150,000.00 educational building was constructed. (This building is now the oldest part of First Baptist’s building complex.) It was completed in 1959, at which time the old auditorium was demolished.
In 1955 the church constructed a new pastorium.
In 1962 Kelly’s Grocery Store and the adjoining lot were purchased from Mrs. C. A. Garrett so that a modern nursery building could be constructed as an addition to the educational building. The original plot measured 136 feet wide by 100 feet deep, and the contract was awarded to Bartley, Inc. to renovate the building. The approximate cost of the property, building, and furnishings was $284,000.00. Also during 1962, the church disposed of the old beginner building and old office building. The primary building was remodeled and the office was moved to this site. The new nursery building (preschool and children’s building) was first occupied in January of 1963. In 1963, the George Theriot property, a lot on the northeast corner of our present property, was purchased. In 1964, the church purchased the Thomas Hall property which was used by the Old Fashion Drive-In. In 1965, the church began its first kindergarten program. Mrs. Kenneth Magee was employed as the first kindergarten instructor. In 1971, the church purchased a new pastorium, which has since been sold. In 1972, the church purchased a bus and a van and instituted a Mother’s Day Out program which provides a great service to mothers of our community. In 1973, the church observed it first Founder’s Day and at that time distributed history books.
In October 1975, a proposed master plan building program was presented to the membership. A long-range program was adopted to study the over-all building needs of our church then and in the future. The First Baptist Church authorized the construction of the new sanctuary when detailed drawings were completed, contractor bids received and accepted by church vote, and adequate funds were in hand. During 1975, the kitchen was completely remodeled into a beautiful modern facility and the church observed family night suppers which were held each Wednesday evening before mid-week service. The fellowship hall was also completely remodeled to better serve for fellowships, banquets, wedding receptions, parties, and other church functions. In addition, a new prayer room was completed.
On June 4, 1976, the church adopted a resolution to build the new sanctuary according to plans and specifications prepared by Ellender and Broussard, Architects of Sulphur. The contract for building the sanctuary was given to Robira and Managan Development Corp. of Lake Charles, La. for a contract price of $520,590.00. Attorney Norman L. Williams was authorized to provide legal assistance as required for the construction of the sanctuary.
On June 19, 1977, we had SANCTUARY DEDICATION DAY, a day we had long been waiting for – the day to serve our Lord in our beautiful new sanctuary. Former pastors and staff were invited to our dedication ceremony. The sanctuary was packed to capacity with members, friends, relatives, pastors, and residents of Sulphur, Lake Charles, and neighboring towns, cities and states. Baptismal services were held at the evening worship service.
In 1978, the church renovated the old sanctuary into rooms for Sunday School classes. Later, a family life center complete with a game room was constructed.
The property to the south of the church on Irwin Street was purchased in 1997 from Dr. Logan Perkins with an option to buy his Huntington Street property in the future.