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Wheat Street Baptist Church
365 Auburn Avenue
Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District
Atlanta, Georgia


Founded: 1869
Rebuilt: After 1917 fire approx. 1920-23
Architect: --
Builder: --
Architectural Style: The Church Building represents a late adaptation of the Gothic Revival style.
Original Use: Has been an important spiritual/social institution in the Sweet Auburn Ave. Community since inception. The church contains 22 class and department rooms, a vault, and 2,500 seats in the main auditorium.
Readaptive Use: Continues functioning as a community church.


Recorded dates:
1869 - Founded
1894 - J.S. Brandon begins plans to organize a Young Men's Christian Association. A group of young people met in the basement of the Wheat Street Baptist Church to formalize the group. Brandon is elected president and his sister-in-law, Hattie Askidge, is elected organist. The dominant activity during the early years was song and prayer on Sunday afternoons.
1917 - The fire of 1917 wiped out the original Church as well as much of northeastern Atlanta.
1921 - August. Construction begins on the new Wheat Street Baptist Church at the corner of Auburn Ave. and Yonge St. (Now William Holmes Borders Dr.) The church would contain 22 class and department rooms, a vault, and 2,500 seats in the main auditorium. Rev. Peter James was pastor. The Church has been in its finished state since 1939.
1936 - The late Rev. Peter J. Bryant (he originally sold Alonzo Herndon the Atlanta Benevolent & Protective Association) was replaced by the demonstrative young preacher from Macon, The Rev. William Holmes Borders.
Late 1930's - From Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch p53-54.
1961 - From Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch p301-302.


Originally from WRFG-FM/"Living Atlanta" Collection, courtesy of Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, GA
NARRATOR: The Voters League would interview candidates and endorse those who best supported black interests.
MAYNARD JACKSON: So these white candidates would come to Wheat Street Baptist Church at midnight at the beginning of election day, sit on that front pew and pray that they got named to the ticket because when the program was over the ticket went out by a network they had established to every black voter in Atlanta. Every one...

Back To The History of Auburn Ave

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