Sense of Place: Timmons Hall Keeps Black History Alive in a New Life

Aug 5, 2018

Timmons Temple, was once a place where Springfield’s African American community gathered to worship and socialize.  Now known as Timmons Hall, it rests in a new location after it was moved to Silver Springs Park in 2015.  Today, it’s used as an events venue for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. 

As a part of Silver Springs Park Days, historical Timmons Temple held an open house Sunday for people to gather and remember the old church.

Betty Ransom is playing hymns on an old, donated piano as people wander in.

She’s co-chair of the group Friends of Timmons Temple.

Betty Ransom plays hymns on the hall's donated piano
Credit Claire Kidwell / KSMU

“I loved the music that came out of Timmons Temple. And the preacher that was there, he just move your spirit.”

Ransom was never a member of the church, but she lived close enough that she felt a connection to the building.

As people meander through the old church, many recall memories from the days when Timmons Temple was a beacon for the neighborhood.

Former City Councilman Denny Whayne, who served on Council from 2001-09, fondly remembers the church from his childhood.

He says he sat on these front steps eating French fries with his friends before going down into the park.

He believes that Timmons Hall should be preserved for its historical significance.

“This is good history. If you destroy your history, then nobody will ever know what went on in the past.”

Now, the church resides in the historical Silver Springs Park, which was the only official park designated for African Americans during the days of segregation.

When the church was scheduled for demolition, many people, including Lori Tack and Minister Christine Peoples, rallied together to save the old building.

Tack hopes this building will continue to bring together people from all over the community, through children’s programming and musical performances.

“We’re excited to share this space with people and hear their stories. Storytelling is going to be a really big part of this rebirth of Timmons Temple as Timmons Hall.”

Minister Peoples greets guests as they come in for the Timmons Hall Open House
Credit Claire Kidwell / KSMU

Minister Peoples also emphasizes the role of young people in the timeline of Timmons Temple: they were a big part in the church and the community during segregation, she says, and she wants to see that again today.

“Through Timmons Hall being here we have the opportunity, beautiful opportunity, to make programs happen that will connect back to those days with children having their voice.”

Peoples says she’d like for young people to establish their own legacy in this building and continue historical traditions for years to come.