In September 1928, Rev. T.J. Smith, Pastor of Alton Park Baptist Church, conducted a very successful revival in the Patten Chapel Community Church. Several converts of Baptist belief along with existing Baptist church members expressed a desire to form a local Baptist fellowship. On October 14, 1928, a group met at Patten Chapel Community Church to organize a Baptist church. The Articles of Faith and Church Covenant were read and those present questioned. All being found satisfactory, it was agreed to proceed with the organization of a church. The first church clerk was Mrs. Ollie Boydston, and T.A. Thompson was elected to be ordained a deacon on the 2nd Sunday in November 1928. There were 14 charter members.
On November 17, 1928, the church adopted the name “The West Chattanooga Baptist Church.” Frank Mosier served for approximately two years as the first pastor. The church arranged to meet once per month at the Patten Chapel Community Church until it was taken over full time by the Presbyterians. With no regular pastor or place to meet, services were sporadically held in various homes. On October 30, 1930 the church was accepted into the Ocoee Baptist Association (which at that time comprised Hamilton and Bradley Counties) in their annual meeting at the St. Elmo Avenue Baptist Church.
In September 1931, Brother Disney held a tent meeting on First Avenue and Kelly’s Ferry Road with several people being saved, uniting with the church, and being baptized in nearby Lookout Lake. Brother Disney insisted that the church continue to meet. Accordingly, a building committee was formed and charged with finding a suitable building site. A lot across from Brother Dantzler was eventually selected (location was Fourth Avenue, eventually changed to Lilac Avenue) with one 50-foot lot being purchased and donated by Mr. and Mrs. O.E. Boydston and the adjoining 50-foot lot being donated by its owner, Judge Hisey was called as the first pastor (agreeing to serve without pay while the church was being constructed) and he and 6 or 7 others took out a bank note for $400 to get the framing started. A good deal of the materials were purchased on 60-90 days credit, without knowing from where the money would come from. Of course, God graciously provided, even during these times of hard depression when many people were out of work or on a short work week. With only 7 persons assisting, the building was started in March 1932 and completed enough so that services could be held there in May.
On October 1, 1932 the church name was officially changed to Lookout Valley Baptist Church. With finances improving dramatically, Brother Hisey was given a salary of $410 per month, the first janitor received 50 cents per week, and the first piano was purchased (used) for $15. During the winter, attendees were careful to get a seat near the recently installed lone used heater. Another successful revival in 1934 netted many additions. As the spiritual condition of the church flourished and finances became more solid, work was begun on the basement for Sunday school space.
The 1940’s brought the first attempt at ventilation and air conditioning (only moderately successful in the hottest weather), along with the addition of an indoor baptistery (eliminating the need to utilize nearby Lookout Lake). Unfortunately, records of those baptized in the lake were only sporadically kept, so requests for church letters often required memories of church members in order to be fulfilled.
1954 brought the first floor of a modern educational building, along with comfortable indoor restrooms to replace the outdoor rooms formerly located at the rear of the church.
In 1955, the church started a mission in the lower end of the Valley, which became Riverside Baptist Church in 1956. In October 1961, construction was begun on the current modern sanctuary to seat 500 people. In 1963, the original church building (located adjacent to the new church) was sold and removed, with its former space converted to parking. More parking was provided by purchasing and paving a lot across the street.
In 1975, a further expansion was undertaken to add an Activities/Fellowship building and new pastorium. Cost of the activities building was $80,598.88 and cost of the pastorium (including lot) was approximately $40,000. The wood mantel beam in the pastorium was salvaged from the house where former Judge Will Cummings was born and the brick was salvaged from a “Victorian” style house at 23 Bluff View, just across from the Hunter Art Gallery.
The 1980’s and 1990’s brought additional growth with the purchase of the Hurst property and house (renamed the Timothy House and currently home to the youth ministry) and adjacent property for future expansion possibilities. Included in the most recent purchases are: the old McBryar Lumber Company (our gymnasium); the McBryar home (currently hosting our preschool); and three additional properties adjacent to the property designated for future parking and growth.