SOUTHERN TIDINGS ARTICLE | TESTIMONIAL VIDEOS
Here is the documentary video that was shown on September 15, 2018 for our 125th anniversary celebration.
In celebration of our 125 years in ministry, we are currently undertaking a research project on the history of our church. Written articles have been recovered as well as hours spent researching online archives and microfilm at the library for this project.
If you wish to contribute either with pictures or memories, please contact Josh Dobson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT GAINESVILLE SDA
HF #1 • Did you know that the 1894 Georgia Conference Camp Meeting was held here in Gainesville? It was held August 15-21 at Wolfe's Grove on Green Street. The meeting was so well received, that they continued on for almost a week. There was a good crowd on the final night on August 26. The city provided electricity and water free of charge.
HF #2 • Can't seem to find 513 Pine Street? Well, to be honest, Google can't find this one for you either. This one took a little homework and a history lesson to figure out. When the city put in Queen City Parkway in the 70's, it caused the roads to change and be renamed. Pine Street used to continue past the Police and Fire Stations and connect with Gordon Avenue back in the day, but now, 513 Pine Street currently would take you somewhere South of the Police Station. However, if you look for 513 Saint Thomas Drive, you will likely find the vacant lot next to Longstreet Avenue located a block North of the Police Station, right along Queen City Parkway. Interestingly enough, Pine Street was originally known as Egmont Street in the 1890s, so it has gone through several name changes over the years. The old church actually remained standing until the land was sold to a developer in 2008 and then it was demolished.
HF #3 • Still looking for the A-frame on top of the hill overlooking Downey Boulevard? Well, you won't find it anymore. The church and school was demolished a few years after the land was purchased in 2006. Today, the property was developed into a dental office owned by BGW Dental Group. However, when you stop in for a cleaning, you might be able to venture into the field and still see the footings of the old church in the ground.
HF #4 • In 1899, lightning struck the steeple of the original church. Not to worry, no one was hurt, but it did make the news in several papers. Here is the article from the Georgia Cracker in the September 2, 1899 edition.
HF #5 • Gainesville was the first city to house an Adventist School in Georgia. The first school opened on November 20, 1893.
HF #6 • The Georgia Conference never owned the land the church was on (built in 1893) until 1926. Evangelist W.A. McCutchen originally purchased the land on his own and later gifted the land to the conference after he had moved to serve in the Texas Conference. The General Conference Committee reviewed his request to sell it back in 1895, but turned it down due to lack of funds as well as the precedent it would set.
HF #7 • The original church was built in 1893, but was later blown 6 feet off its foundation in the great tornado of 1936, which is the 5th deadliest cyclone in US History.
HF #8 • The Gainesville congregation actually disbanded for a short period, mainly due to the persecution they faced in the area. The present church reorganized in 1935 under the leadership of the Macon church and has been running continuously ever since.
HF #9 • About a year after the congregation reorganized as a church, the first building had to be rebuilt due to the tornado on April 6, 1936. By the end of August, a second "bungalow style" church was erected which we occupied until 1962 when the Vine Street church opened.
HF #10 • The church almost sold to a dentist in 1982, but when the sale fell through, we added on the second addition to the church (shown in this picture). Interestingly, the Vine Street property later sold in 2006 and was developed into...a dental office.
HF #11 • Christ Lutheran Church in Oakwood served as our home from January 2008 until we opened up our current church on Old Cornelia Hwy.
HF #12 • On November 13, 2010, we officially opened the fourth church on Old Cornelia Highway. The cost to construct the facility was $1.6 million and the design was changed with future expansion in mind.
HF #13 • W.A. McCutchen lived next door to the church on Pine Street in the house that faced Mill Street (now Gordon Avenue). The house, since rebuilt in the 1940s, is still standing at that location. This is where both McCutchen and E.C. Keck were later arrested in November 1893.
HF #14 • In 1916, W.E. Strickland held a tent meeting in the Fork District Settlement, which now is known as the area on Ledan Road near the Baptist Church in Sardis. As a result of his continued efforts, a company of 10 members was organized.
HF #15 - On April 5, 1954, the church began running a series of mission records entitled "Into All The World" on Gainesville Radio WGGA and was broadcast all over North Georgia.
HF #16 - In 1958, Union Evangelist B.L. Hassenpflug was the speaker of a series held in Gainesville. The meeting was very successful and as a result, 27 souls were brought to Christ...amounting for over a 10% increase to the church.
HF #17 • Five years after opening Vine Street we had to already expand the church. In 1972, we opened a new educational wing to accommodate classrooms for Sabbath School and a new Church School.
HF #18 • Gainesville was the first city south of Baltimore to install street lamps. In 1916, the city elected to install one on Pine Street by our church.
HF #19 • The Chestatee (Dahlonega Mission) and Habersham churches were church plants rooted in Gainesville in the late 1990’s.
HF #20 • Before we broke ground on Old Cornelia Hwy, the land looked much different. There was a modular home that needed to be torn down before we could start can’t construction.
HF #21 • In 1932, founding member J.E. Philmon passed away after many years of service to our church. She was the first to accept the Adventist message in Georgia and it has been estimated that she brought over 50 people to Christ before she passed away.
HF #22 • The Kellogg’s (yep, Corn Flakes) moved from Michigan and lived in Gainesville in the 1930’s and served in our congregation.
HF #23 • Remember the Georgia Camp Meeting that was held in Gainesville? Well on August 16, 1894, the Gainesville Eagle featured an article promoting this grand event. Here is a recreation of the original article.
HF #24 • On September 15, 2018 we officially celebrated our 125th anniversary of being part of the great city of Gainesville, Georgia. The day was filled with reflection of the past which included a skit, based on a true story, featuring the Religious Liberty history of the church. We also looked into the future vision for the church.
HF #25 • On October 6, 2019, there was a break in and subsequent fire at the church. The fire was contained to the bathroom behind the baptistry but the smoke damage was widespread to the sanctuary side of the church. The New Holland Baptist Church was kind enough to let us use their facility for our Sabbath services while we reconstruct the sanctuary.
HF #26 • COVID-19 Pandemic Quarantine - on March 14, 2020 we held our final service in the gymnasium to a limited crowd as we, and countless other churches across the county, were ordered to close our doors to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus that had been spreading worldwide. While our doors closed, we were able to still hold services with essential personnel via live stream and provided additional content to our members via our website and social media accounts. This quarantine resumed until finally on September 22, 2020 the Church Board agreed to start the preliminary phases of reopening live worship services starting in October 2020.
HF #27 • Re-Opening of our Church - on October 17, 2020 we reopened our church to a limited crowd of 36 people in person and a number of digital attendees watching our internet live stream to signify that the reconstruction project had been finished. While there were some finishing touches that needed to be done to the new fire exit, we were given the occupancy permit to hold services in our sanctuary. If you wish to see the progress that was made over the duration of the reconstruction, you can view some short videos on our Construction Updates page.