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Springfield, Mo. — The Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the Friends of Timmons Temple invite the community to the grand opening of Timmons Hall Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m., in Silver Springs Park, 1100 N. Hampton Ave., Springfield.
Timmons Hall, formerly known as Timmons Temple, officially opens to the public following relocation to the park in 2015 and four years of restoration work managed by Friends of Timmons Temple. The former church will serve as an event facility offering historical, cultural and educational opportunities, owned and operated by the Park Board and under the direction of Christine Peoples, newly named Coordinator of Timmons Hall.
“I’m excited because I know this Timmons Hall will bring the community together,” said Peoples. “It’s going to take you back in time, and forward as well. And it will benefit the next generation. It’s just going to be epic.”
Timmons Temple Church of God in Christ was built in 1932 at the corner of Webster Street and Texas Avenue, overlooking Silver Springs Park. The small church served Springfield’s African-American community for more than 80 years before the congregation outgrew the building and relocated. Timmons Temple was sold and slated for demolition. Nonprofit group Save Timmons Temple (now Friends of Timmons Temple) formed in 2014 to preserve the church, noting its historic significance as well as its unique stone exterior, including sunburst patterns also found in retaining walls in Silver Springs Park. The group coordinated financial and in-kind donations, and in early 2015, Timmons Temple was carefully lifted from its foundation and relocated by about 600 feet into Silver Springs Park.
Over the next four years, Friends of Timmons Temple coordinated extensive redevelopment of the landmark, including new foundation, roof, front entrance, windows, restrooms, plumbing, electricity and HVAC, as well as interior restoration with 1932-style paint and fixtures, and exposing the original heartwood oak floors. Private fundraising efforts continue for future restoration.
“It’s amazing to realize that over five years ago we began the volunteer effort to preserve historic Timmons Temple by relocating it to Silver Springs Park,” said Paula Ringer, president of Friends of Timmons Temple. “Many didn’t think it was possible, and we almost didn’t think it was. But we were successful because of the collaborative support of the developer, private donors, the Park Board and the generous donations of expertise and labor from our local Trades Council and many others. This project is a monument to having faith!”
The grand opening event includes remarks, music, photos, a ribbon-cutting and refreshments. The grand opening will be followed a digital presentation at Timmons Hall of a current art exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The exhibition, 30 Americans, features American experiences as presented through 30 contemporary African-American artists, spanning four decades. Seating for the presentation is limited, please RSVP at Timmons Hall 417-864-1046. Admission is free, donations are accepted.
The grand opening will also be followed by a Juneteenth celebration 12-4 p.m. in Silver Springs Park, coordinated by NAACP Springfield Branch.
About Christine Peoples
Christine Peoples is an ordained minister with extensive experience in community outreach, specializing in early childhood, young families and a conviction that all children should feel safe, validated and loved in their own identity. In addition to serving six local minority congregations, Peoples has also served as Director of the Springfield Community Center, Hispanic Outreach Coordinator for Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, and Internship Director of African American Studies 101 at Missouri State University. She is the founder of nonprofit Peoples History Café, which has provided programming for more five years at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library’s annual Meet and Greet Celebration. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Development from Ozarks Technical Community College on 2015.
About Silver Springs Park
Silver Springs is one of Springfield’s 10 Historic Parks, established in Springfield in 1918 on land known as the old Fairbanks pasture. It was later named for a spring on site, a tributary of Jordan Creek. During segregation, Silver Springs was the city’s only public park designated for black residents and sports leagues, including visiting baseball teams. In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration lined the creek channel with rock, installed the fieldstone retaining walls and built the first Silver Springs Pool. It’s been the site of picnics and gatherings for decades, including the Park Day, established in 1952 when Gerald Brooks, a parks supervisor and a teacher at Springfield’s former Lincoln School, and Robert Wendell Duncan, also a park supervisor, started a day of games and sports events for young African-American residents at Silver Springs. Today the Park Day Reunion takes place the first weekend in August, including a parade, picnic, sports competitions, swimming, beauty pageant, banquet and gospel singing. The Jordan Creek Greenway connected Silver Springs Park to Smith Park in 2003. Silver Springs Pool was renovated in 2010. In 2015, historic Timmons Temple was relocated into the park. In 2018, the year of the park’s centennial, Silver Springs became the first location marked on the new Springfield-Greene County African-American Heritage Trail.
For media inquiries, contact Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2943 (office) or 417-224-5510 (mobile).