SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One of Springfield’s first black churches almost went away forever, but is now here to stay for good.
Today a piece of history was re-introduced to the people of Springfield. The historic Timmons Hall, once known as Timmons Temple, had it’s grand re-opening Saturday at Silver Springs Park with many members of the community on hand to welcome it back.
Built in 1932, the original Timmons Temple Church of God in Christ served Springfield’s African-American community for more than 80 years.
A few years ago, the church was set to be demolished before a group called “Friends of Timmons Temple” helped get the church moved into Silver Springs Park.
That was in 2015, and after years of renovations the historic landmark was opened Saturday with a ceremony at Silver Springs Park.
Timmons Hall will be under the direction of Christine Peoples going forward, and will commemorate black history and culture.
SGF-Greene County Park Board member Sidney Needem was a key member in getting Timmons Hall back up and running, but he believes people will still see it as it once was.
“Let’s take advantage at coming down and looking at some of the things and programs that Ms. Peoples will have here before long. Probably in the black community, we’ll be calling it ‘Timmons Temple’. They renamed it ‘Timmons Hall’, but it’s still going to be ‘Timmons Temple’. Now that they have reserved it and restored it, it’s going to be a benefit to the community,” says Needem.
Mayor Ken McClure declared it Timmons Hall day, and says he can’t wait to see it become part of the community once again.
“This is going to be an event center that is located in a very active park. It’s going to be something that I think people and their families will enjoy coming to and being a part of. It has a great African-American heritage that will and should continue,” says Mayor McClure.
Perhaps nobody was happier to have Timmons Hall back than former city councilman Denny Whayne, who is a pillar of the African-American community in Springfield.
“Etta James recorded a song called ‘At last.’ At last, we are here. I always keep this in my pocket: Things change. People change. People change things,” Whayne says.
The celebration ended with an open house of Timmons hall, and was followed by the Juneteenth celebration at Silver Springs Park and Silver Springs Pool.