Old springs born again at site of church parking lot
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Aug. 14, 2005 -- A little piece of history appears to have been born again on the site of a future parking lot for First Baptist Church.

The church recently purchased the old Tapp Furniture store building on the corner of Gilmer and Tomlinson streets, with plans to develop more parking space.

As the building was demolished and the concrete slab was removed, an old spring bubbled to the surface.

Local historian and author Barbara McCarley was excited about the discovery of the spring. She said that many of the downtown buildings were actually built on top of springs, including the Tapp building.

“I haven’t found anyone that has actually talked to me about the [spring] at Tapp’s because that was curbed inside of the building,” she said. “[The building] may have been the old shop where they sold different kinds of harness and carriages, and right next to it was the stable, and we think those horses were definitely watered from that spring.”

McCarley is the author of “Healing Waters,” a booklet available at the Hopkins County Genealogical Society that covers the history of the city’s springs. She said the spring may have a direct connection to one that the square was built around.

“I think that when Dr. Davis laid out the square, he knew where the springs were,” she said, referring to Dr. O.S. Davis, who deeded the public square to the county in 1870. “It may be that he laid out the square with the spring in the middle on purpose.”

Tommy Johnston with First Baptist Church said a number of people have called wanting to know what the church was going to do about it.

“We don’t really know right now,” he said. “We know there is a spring there we can incorporate into the parking lot. To have some kind of area that would also show off the spring, we would sure be interested in doing that.”

First Baptist Church’s long-range plans call for a new worship center on property currently occupied by the old Banks building and Meeks Cleaners. When those plans come to fruition, the new parking lots will be needed, and the spring could be a highlight for the downtown area.

Johnston also said that experts would have to study the spring before any definite plans are made.

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