Conclusion of “Early African-American Churches of Clark County”
Published 9:00 am Friday, August 4, 2017
By Harry Enoch
According to their church history, Broadway Baptist Church was formed by 60 former members of First Baptist Church on Highland.
Their charter was granted in December 1889. Rev. R. T. Huffman served as the first pastor. In April 1890, Isaac Skinner sold a lot in Winchester to Edward Turner, Charles Dedman and Beverly Jackson, “as Trustees for the Broadway Baptist Church.”
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The church paid $300 of the $1,350 purchase price, giving notes for the remainder.
A black architect from Nashville drew up plans, and the cornerstone of the new church was laid in 1890.
The handsome brick building with its tall steeple was erected on the north side of Broadway near Maple Street.
Construction costs put the congregation further in debt. The church was almost lost to indebtedness on several occasions but somehow managed to survive.
Deed records indicate that in 1904, the congregation paid George Nelson $1,335 in cash to regain the title to their church.
At that time, trustees were Orrin W. Bates, Sid Boone, Charles Wills, Silas Coach and Charles Dedman. The last of a series of mortgages was paid off in 1923.
The church was led for 38 years (1955-1993) by the Rev. Henry E. Baker Sr.
Baker was a tireless worker for the black community of Winchester.
He played a prominent roll dealing with integration of local government and schools. Baker was the first African-American elected to public office in Clark County, serving as a city commissioner and vice mayor from 1980 to 1984.
A month before his death in 2014, the new Henry E. Baker Intermediate School was named in his honor.