Vacant yet historic Old Zion Chapel Baptist Church in Eudora burns to the ground, cause of fire unknown

Arkansas News

EUDORA, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — A fire destroyed one of the oldest church buildings in Eudora. It has been vacant for several now years but its history lives on through its members.

Old Zion Baptist Church on Front Street in Eudora was once a place William Stanton called home but now its brick structure has been burned to the ground from an early morning fire on Tuesday.

“I was devastated because there’s a lot of history even though the building was vacant,” Stanton said.

The church was first built in that location in 1910 though its history dates back to the beginning of 1880. The structure that recently burned down was remodeled in 1966.

From weekly worship services to baptisms and even talks about segregation and years later voter registration, this church was the hub for this small community to come together as one.

“We used to do that and have a good time but the church is the center where you can go and just be yourself,” he said.

Stanton remembers walking to church as a kid and sitting in the balcony where most of the youth sat during service. He began attending church their in the 70s. At the time, he said, the church had the largest congregations within city limits.

“It’s something that will be missed. Just to pass and even see the building and now pass and not see the building, it’s devastating to a community. It’s a part of the history and it’s a part of the community,” Stanton said.

The Zion Chapel Church has had a new facility for the last 25 years on Peeble Street.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Eudora’s chief of police said he has contacted the Arkansas State Police to assist in the investigation.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Trending Stories