At the Corner of Preston and Spring Valley Roads, What Remains of Mount Pisgah Baptist

pisgah1.jpg
Photos by Jeffrey Liles
Mount Pisgah Baptist built its first church at the corner of what's now Preston and Spring Valley in the late 1800s; the structure that sits there now is a rebuild that dates back to 1945. But in 1981 the church bought property on Webb Chapel near Forest, a stone's throw from Two Guys from Italy, and relocated. Others attempted to use the space, but a year ago it went on the market; the Realtors marketing the property say this morning that, more than likely, its best hope is for someone to buy it, raze it and turn it into an "office condo" complex.

Every time I've driven past it I've wondered about the structure -- how it got there and how, despite the development all around it, it managed to survive. So too has Jeff Liles, who grew up not far from Mount Pisgah. Which is why, yesterday, when he drove past it and noticed that the door was open, he went in and took some pictures -- and wrote a brief essay, which you'll find on the other side.

pisgah3.jpg
Growing up in Far North Dallas, I often drove by this small African-American church at the corner of Preston Road and Spring Valley Road. On Sunday mornings my family would drive to Valley View Mall and take the shuttle buses to the Cowboys games at Texas Stadium, and I can remember often seeing the congregation filing out of the front doors of this church, everyone dressed so nice in their suits and wonderful hats.

For years -- decades, really -- the area around the tiny building had been developed into large gated communities. The value of this property skyrocketed, but the congregation held on. On Thursday I drove past and noticed the front door standing wide open. I pulled over and stepped inside. It was heartbreaking to see old dirty clothes strewn in the aisles and empty crack vials littering the pews. This building apparently never had central heating or air, and the furniture in the front office space was rotting and decayed. The congregation, for whatever reason, had given up their home.

It was sad to see this structure, which for so many years had been the one building in the area that still had held its ground against the concrete walls and barriers surrounding it, now that much closer to demolition. Also hard to imagine that in all of that time, I was only now seeing what this building looked like on the inside. -- Jeffrey Liles
pisgah2.jpg

pisgah5.jpg

pisgah4.jpg
My Voice Nation Help
13 comments
Dallasmavstexas
Dallasmavstexas

i would sure like to know if this building is still for sale and if so how can i inquire about it please relpy to dallasmavstexas@yahoo.com

Houseofprayer2
Houseofprayer2

lets all get together and own and rebuild this church

chevytexas
chevytexas

Yes, the old black farming community of Alpha, which actually focused nearby along Noel Road. This, of course, was on the 'main road' into town for trade in the last centuries. We recently lost another such church along Coit Road, above Central Expressway, whose dwindling congregations have bled out into other churches. Of all the remaining icons of rural communities, black and white, the small churches are often the last, most visible --and thus, most vulnerable-- pieces we are losing.

Andrew
Andrew

Wow, another church. This state has too many of them. Good riddance. May you become something useful and less money-grubbing.

ebc
ebc

the pastor rev cecil smith recently died..

master c
master c

I never knew what that building was....I have pointed it out to my husband. So out of the Northwood Hills character.Thanks! Also nice link on Alpha, Dr.

Dr. Chipotle
Dr. Chipotle

The church was the last remnant of the old freedmen's town of Alpha (i.e. Alpha Road).

k1p
k1p

Is this the church that used to hold services wherein they would pray your dental problems away?

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

I remember this church sitting there looking very lonely as I grew up and the neighborhood grew around it. I was surprised that it wasn't sold and razed when they connected and expanded Spring Valley Road between Preston and White Rock Creek. It's a pity it had to end up like this.

Jeebus
Jeebus

Waaah waaaaah Jeebus is crying

Flower
Flower

Corporations are money grubbing, not churches.  I'd rather see this church stay where it is, not turned into another office complex. I used to live very close to this old church, and always got such a peaceful feeling when I looked at it, even though I am not very religious any more. 

Sushianna53
Sushianna53

 This church is a piece of North Dallas history... It's beautiful..just needs a little bit of sprucing up.  I hope that it remains a church...you can never have too many.  I guess I differ with you on that.  I'm sorry you have a "money grubbing" notion of what church is about...because church is amazing.  Hopefully one day you will stumble through the doors of a church and you will have a change of heart...one can only pray.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...