the Gathering @ 8:45 a.m.  •  Sunday School @ 9:45 a.m.  •  Traditional Worship @ 11:00 a.m.

Beginnings

It’s hard to look around Spring Hill today and remember that this was once “the country.” In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, however, the community of Spring Hill was a popular weekend destination for residents of downtown Mobile, seven miles away, in part because it was easily accessible by means of a good shell-surfaced road. (Guess what it’s called today?)

As early as 1900 there was interest in starting a Baptist church there, but attempts failed. In 1949, however, things finally changed. After the war, “the country” was blossoming into “the burbs,” and Gwendolyn and Floyd Condit moved to the area. These staunch Baptists couldn’t understand why Spring Hill didn’t have a Baptist church. They approached Dr. H. S. Sauls, the Mobile County Director of Missions, with their idea. He was reluctant at first, but the persistence of the Condits and others overcame his initial reticence. God’s blessing on the effort quickly became evident. On August 9, 1949, Dr. Sauls, Dr. W.A. and Florence Wood, George and Helen Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Brown, and Mrs. Hal Daugherty met for the first time to pray and discuss the idea. When a religious census of the area revealed over 900 potential congregants, Dr. Sauls agreed to support the venture. As a result, Spring Hill Baptist Church began life under the sponsorship of the Mobile Baptist Association, not as a mission of another church. Two weeks later, 26 people attended the first of what became regular Tuesday night prayer meetings at the Condit’s home.

The leaders of the fledgling congregation recognized that finding a suitable location for the church to meet would be critical to the success of their endeavor. While making telephone calls to potential members, Helen Wood talked to Edith Terrell, who was not only interested in membership but also suggested that property owned by her mother on McGregor Avenue might meet the church’s need. It was perfect! The beautiful tree-covered 4 ½ acre property contained a large two-story stucco home, a barn, and small outbuilding. The house had at one time been used as a hotel, and a previous owner had also used the property to breed and train race horses. A price of $30,000 was soon negotiated. The owner, Mrs. Marechal, agreed to finance $20,000 of that amount at $200 a month. In an act of great faith, a small number of the prospective members personally borrowed the remaining $10,000 needed for the down payment – a princely sum at the time.

While the formalities of the land purchase were being finalized, a Sunday School was organized and classes were held in every room of the Condit’s home on Ridgelawn Drive. Dr. Sauls ably served as interim pastor, preaching his sermons in the living room. On October 5, 1949, a letter was sent to 150 families in the Spring Hill area inviting them to join in worship on Sunday, October 9 at the Marechal home. Eighty-seven people attended that service and 44 united with the new church. The following Sunday there were 98 in attendance and membership reached 81. On that day -- Sunday, October 16, 1949, Spring Hill Baptist Church was officially organized and dedicated to the service of God.

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