1904- Humble Beginnings
The first Baptist services held in Thermopolis were held in a store on the corner of Fifth and Big Horn Streets. Pastor Gould of Meeteetse preached the first service.
The organizing charter members were: Mrs. J.W. Calloway, Miss Jean Calloway, Mrs. Allen Funk, Mrs. Anna Chase, J. Lewis Fenner, Daniel Harkins, Mrs. E.F. Jones, and Hulda Kellog.
1907- The First Building: The Corner of 8th and Warren Street
The American Baptist Home Mission Society sends Pastor M.J. Sigler to lead the church in a building project.
The Town of Thermopolis donates two lots on 8th and Warren Streets, and the church attains a $500 loan and raises $1100 among them to construct the first building.
In 1922- an addition and remodeling was done to the little building for the amount of $2000. The little building was bursting at the seams.
1918- The Spanish "Flu" and our Church
Not much is mentioned in our church historical documents about this time in our churches history. Fortunately, a letter was found written by the widow of Pastor W.H.J. Jones several years later giving us an insight into what was going on. Below is an excerpt from that letter:
During the war we lost many from the "Flu". Whole families. [Pastor] Jones went up Monument Hill [cemetery] twice daily for some time as there could be no public funerals.
While a time like that could easily be viewed as a discouraging time to give up, the church never did. As a matter of fact the church began to grow after that tragedy.
1930- Continued Growth
The church growing in number, had outgrown the church on Warren Street. The decision was made to sell the Warren Street building and begin looking for a new place to meet. In January 1930 the warren street building was sold for $3500. The church then met in Liberty Hall during this time.
In 1930, the American Baptist Home Missions Board sent Pastor A.C. Blinzinger and the Chapel Rail Car "Grace" to minister to and help lead the church in their efforts to find a new property.
This same year, lots were purchased on the corner of Fremont and 6th Street for $600.00. This is still the present location of First Baptist Church.
1932- The Second Building: The Corner of 6th and Fremont Street
April 26th, 1931 the church broke ground on the new property.
August 2nd, 1931 the cornerstone was laid. The cutting and laying was done by W.K. Maret who was 75 years old.
The new building was dedicated on June 19, 1932. They had no seats, no furnace, nor any money to hire a pastor. E.L. Crane was sent by the missions board to supply the pulpit for that year.
1936- First Vacation Bible School
The first Vacation Bible Schools were held in Thermopolis and Lucerne! Pastor L.K. Barbee was the Pastor of both the Lucerne church and First Baptist Church at this time.
This tradition was carried on through the years! Vacation Bible Schools, hosted by First Baptist Church, were held all over the county including: Gebo, Lucerne, Morningside, and Hamilton Dome. We may not see the impact of this outreach until we get to heaven one day!
1938- The Depression Strikes Close to Home
It was during this time that the mines in Gebo closed and economic chaos followed! Few remained in Gebo and the church at Gebo was sold with those remaining either attending the Lucerne church or First Baptist Church.
1947- First Radio Broadcast
In June of 1947, Pastor Harley Pulis came to First Baptist Church to be their Pastor. On September 14th of that year, our church began broadcasting our morning services live on the radio! At the time this was broadcasted through KWOR in Worland. We still continue this outreach to this day. Livestream
Pastor Pulis would later be our longest serving pastors from 1947-1986. Just shy of 40 years.
1949- Ministries Merged
In 1949 the Lucerne church came and joined First Baptist Church. Through the years they had often shared the same preacher.
Many of the communities in Hot Springs County have come and gone. Through the years, many of these churches and Sunday Schools gradually merged with our church or disappeared for various reasons. Much of this depended on the economic situation of the area, being an oil and mining area for years.
1955- The New Christian Education Building
In October of 1955 the church broke ground on the Christian Education Building. This section of the building would operate as office space, a fellowship hall and kitchen, as well as Sunday School classrooms. This building was completed in 1958, and the first open house was held January 25th.
This half of our building still functions in the same capacity today as our Fellowship Hall, church office, and Sunday School area.
1976- First Sunday School Bus Route
On October 3rd a bus route was started to pick up Sunday School children. This first "bus" was a 15 passenger van. Our church has had bus routes through the years, and it is the prayer that we will see a ministry like this will begin again.
1978- The Vlastos property
The white house on the corner of 6th and Clark was purchased by the church. It was been used in countless ways through the years including a Youth Group meeting place, a parsonage, and has been rented out as well.
This house is a historical marker of our town! It was built in 1904! While some remodeling has been done, the house would've been considered a mansion in its hay-day. Much of the original wood craftsmen style is still found in it!
1980- First Baptist Church becomes independent
In August of 1980, a special meeting was held and our church voted to no longer be affiliated with the American Baptist Convention. For the first time in its history the church was now independent of any convention. We remain an independent and unaffiliated Baptist Church today.
1981- The Auditorium is Constructed
April 5th, 1981 the new Auditorium was dedicated. This is our churches current Auditorium.
1994- A New Era and Century
In 1994, Pastor Harvey Seidel was called to be the pastor of our church.
Within a few years the church paid down on debt, and burned the mortgage on the last piece of property owed on by the church in 1996.
During this time, some adjacent lots and houses were purchased by the church. The purchase of the Ramsey property was one of these purchases. This property included a duplex and a small home. The duplex currently serves as the residence for a member of our church, and the small house was converted into the "Missions House". This is where church guests, and missionaries stay while they are traveling through Thermopolis.
Supporting Missions is a core part of our churches purpose. Find out more about the missionaries we support by following this link: Missions
2020- COVID-19 & The Present
In February of 2020, Pastor Harvey Seidel retired after 26 years of ministry in Thermopolis. Upon his retirement, Pastor Tony Newhouse was elected as the pastor of our church, beginning a new era for our church.
In March of 2020 COVID-19 shut down the U.S.A. for a period of time, and the uncertainty of it all was unprecedented. From then until the present, by the grace of God, we have trusted in the Lord and have continued to minister!