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Developers help save historically Black church in Springfield

  

Even during a pandemic, the Timmons Hall (formerly Timmons Temple) still provides resources for people of all ages in our community.

In September 2014, the planned demolition of Timmons Temple was brought to the attention of residents looking for a way to preserve the landmark. The developers of Greenway Studios met with the Friends of Timmons Temple group as well as a leader with the Park Board to discuss the options of relocating the building to the adjacent historic park.

The willingness of the developers to work with FOTT was outstanding and they really made the whole effort possible with a lead donation of $70,000 toward the cost of relocation. This significant donation from a developer, Brent Brown, when he became the catalyst to save the structure. “When communities come together, it can be a very powerful thing,” Brown said.

Other community donors followed his lead, and that momentum gave the project real hope of becoming a reality. “Brent and his partner’s generous gift made saving Timmons Temple possible,” said David Eslick, local preservationist and Denny Whayne, former City Councilman.

“We need more developers like Brent that see the value in working together for what is best for the community.  His leadership was crucial in making this move a reality.” Eslick said.

Timmons Temple was built in 1932.  Historians say about 90% of Springfield’s Black residents attended some type of event at Timmons Temple. “People used to line the sidewalk in the park to hear the music that poured out of that church,” said Shirley Blakley, one of the earliest members of Timmons Temple.

“To be a local, sustainable, vibrant community, we must save places where we can go to explore heritage, learn about the past, and grow a bright future for the next generation,” said Paula Ringer, president of Friends of Timmons Temple (FOTT).  “We are delighted that the generous Springfield community, donors, developers and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board joined with us in this important effort to successfully relocate and preserve this monument of faith. This culturally, historically and architecturally significant landmark has been saved for all to experience.”

Now successfully relocated and renovated, Timmons Temple has been renamed Timmons Hall and is managed by Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Christine Peoples serves as the facility’s program coordinator which offers programs in a “History Café” venue.