Rock Island Baptist Church in 1910, a small group of Christians (known as the Sixth Street Baptist Church) began worshiping in Port Arthur. The following year, in 1911, the Rock Island Baptist Church organized when eleven members from the Sixth Street Baptist Church decided to form a new church. For two years, the group worshipped in a house rented from Rev. N.S. Gray. Reverend Henry Roy served as the church’s first pastor until his death in 1915.
In 1913, the parishioners purchased land on this site and built a large church building. The church served as a meeting place for religious services, but also as the first kindergarten for African American children in Port Arthur. In 1939, a new two-story building was erected and the old church was moved to the rear of the lot. The old church building was first used by the Works Progress Administration and then by the St. John Baptist Church. The church expanded their grounds by constructing a church parking lot in 1966, purchased land to build a new sanctuary in 1967, and added a parsonage in 1976. In 1979, the church divided and some members united with the Solid Rock Baptist Church.
Community outreach and missionary work has been an important part of the church’s mission since the congregation’s founding. The church created radio, bus, and prison ministries, established a scholarship fund, and a vacation bible school program. The church continues to assist church and community members in need and also supports local charities and foreign missions. The members and programs of the Rock Island Baptist Church continue to act as a spiritual base for the Port Arthur area.
175 years of Texas Independence * 1836-2011
Marker is property of the State of Texas