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News

Wooldridge Square Once the "Soul of the City"
July 24, 2017

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Our Austin Story
Wooldridge Square
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Edwin Waller designated Block 101, to the immediate south of Wooldridge Square, for churches. Three of Austin's first churches were built here: First (Colored) Baptist Church (1869), Metropolitan AME (1873) and Gethsemane Lutheran Church (1874).
 
Several of Austin's early civic leaders were involved in the establishment of these churches. The Reverend Jacob Fontaine (pictured here) would eventually help establish four churches in the region in addition to First (colored) Baptist. Swante Palm, the namesake of both Palm School and Palm Park, served as the first secretary of the Gethsemane Lutheran Church. 

By the 1920s, the three Wooldridge churches had moved to other locations and were replaced by a new public library, now occupied by the Austin History Center. However, these churches are still thriving.


 
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