Houston in Harris County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist
Houston's first African-American Christian Science congregation was organized in 1914, when founding members Wesley and Patsy Gales, Aurelia and John Snell, Florence Frazier, Alice Jackson, Minerva Thomas, and W. E. Bartlett met in the Gales' home, 1419 Grove Street, in the Fifth Ward. The group was enlightened by the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science and author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In 1927, as attendance grew, a cottage was built at 1417 Grove Street. The church was formally recognized by The Mother Church in Boston, Massachusetts on May 23, 1940 as the "Christian Science Society (Colored), of Houston, Texas."
The group incorporated under the same name early in 1941, and later that year a new modernistic structure designed by architect Henry D. Frankfurt was constructed on donated property located at 2202 Elgin Street, across from historic Emancipation Park, in the heart of the Greater Third Ward community. The building's architecture, while characteristic of the 1930s and 1940s, was unique for religious buildings in Houston. On July 11, 1963, the group's name was
Early Sixth Church members who founded educational, social, and civic organizations that are still vital to the Houston community include teacher Ilma Lawrence Smith, historian and author Pearl C. Suel, musician and teacher "Prof" Conrad O. Johnson, Sr., and professor of music Charles P. Rhinehart.
The congregation dwindled by 2005, when members disbanded to attend other Christian Science congregations in the city. The Sixth Church worship facility, believed to be the oldest Christian Science church in Texas built for African Americans, is an important architectural historic landmark.
Erected 2016 by Harris County Historical Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Churches & Religion. A significant historical date for this entry is May 23, 1940.
Location. 29° 44.119′ N, 95° 22.003′ W. Marker is in Houston, Texas, in Harris County. Marker is at the intersection of Elgin Street and Hutchins Street, on the right when traveling east on Elgin Street. The marker is located on the west side of the entrance to the church by the corner of Elgin and Hutchins Streets. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2202 Elgin Street, Houston TX 77004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Richard Brock (within shouting distance of this marker); Reverend John Henry "Jack" Yates (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Legacy of Emancipation Park (about 700 feet away); Richard Allen (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sam (Lightnin’) Hopkins (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Reverend David Elias Dibble (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Houston.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 18, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 111 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 18, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.