Hunter Street Baptist Church

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Hunter Street Baptist Church is a 7,500 member Baptist church with a sprawling 42-acre campus at 2600 John Hawkins Parkway in Hoover. The pastor, since 1986, is Buddy Gray.

Hunter Street Baptist was organized as the Compton Hill Mission, and then Compton Hill Baptist Church on January 6, 1907 at the Compton Hill School on 3rd Avenue West in Ensley. A year later, the congregation built their own church building at Hunter Street and 24th Street on the east edge of Ensley. The property was donated by a Mr Wildsmith, whose daughter Hunter gave both the street and the church its name.

It later moved a few blocks to 1614-1620 4th Court West in Bush Hills, where church buildings were erected across the street from each other in 1928, 1952 and 1957.

The sanctuary building designed by the pastor N. O. Patterson was constructed at a cost of $90,000. Begun in 1928, the Great Depression and World War II delayed its opening until January 1949, when 500 congregants marched from Hunter Street to 4th Court West. After the church moved, Hunter Street reverted to its original name of Eufaula Avenue. Over the next few years, membership tripled.

A curtain was erected in front of the choir in 1928 to secure the modesty of the choir members who favored flapper-style skirts.

The 1952 building, opened on December 21 by pastor Charles Bowles, served as a Sunday School wing with seven nurseries, numerous classrooms and assembly rooms, a library and an air-conditioned chapel. A new church building was designed by Turner, Smith and Batson in 1955 and completed in 1958. Its construction was marred by a fatal accident when the steeple collapsed, killing an iron worker.

In the 1960s Hunter Street broadcast its Sunday services live on WAQY AM 1220. The church also had a girls' singing group called the Treblettes, which released two recordings on vinyl. Over the next two decades the church's membership declined as white families moved to Birmingham's suburbs.

In 1987 the congregation, then numbering around 200, moved to Hoover, selling its 4th Court West property to Sardis Baptist Church, which relocated from Graymont Avenue.

The church originally met at Hoover Seventh Day Adventist Church, and on March 26, 1989 opened its worship center on John Hawkins Parkway. Since 1989, the church has had 8 building projects, including a larger worship center, a recreation center, a childrens' building, a student building, as well as the Legacy Park recreation complex in Bessemer. During expansion, one of the newly-built streets leading into the complex was named Hunter Street. As of 2009, the church has a membership of over 6,300.



  • Schnorrenberg, John M. (2000) Aspiration: Birmingham's Historic House of Worship. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society ISBN 0943994268
  • Ellaby, Liz (September 16, 2007) "Hunter Street Baptist looks back 50 years, then imagines future." The Birmingham News
  • Ellaby, Liz (January 21, 2007) Hunter Street Baptist salutes 100 years of life." The Birmingham News
  • Collins, Clarice Harrell, Lettie Johnson Riser and Arthur Lonzo Walker, Jr (1982) Forward in Faith: from Compton Hill Mission to Hunter Street Baptist Church, 1894-1971. Birmingham: Hunter Street Baptist Church.
  • Winslett, Emily (March 21, 2004) "Faith on 42 Acres: A visit to the Hunter Street Baptist Church." Covering Religion: The Soul of the South. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. - accessed January 21, 2007

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