During one cold northeast Missouri winter, Pastor Ralph M. G. Smith of First Baptist Church of Kirksville noticed that some members of his congregation were not making it to church. After checking in with a few of these families the reason was clear. These individuals and families lived in the neighborhoods surrounding the old shoe factory on the southwest part of town. Every Sunday morning they would get up early and walk all the way downtown in order to attend church services. During the winter it just got too cold, making walking to church unbearable, sometimes even dangerous. Pastor Smith saw a need and led his congregation to meet that need. Together they decided that this neighborhood needed a church of its own.
Through the work of a visionary pastor and a giving congregation, Hamilton Street Baptist Church was born. Beginning as a mission of First Baptist Church of Kirksville in 1954, the members held their first meetings in a house located on the same site as our present building. A variety of young men filled the pulpit at that time. Many of them were members of the Baptist Student Union. The church called its first full-time pastor, Rev. Ernest Deatrick, in 1957.
The first sanctuary was constructed in 1956 while Don Evans was serving as interim pastor. It was a 28-foot by 60-foot structure with Sunday School rooms in the basement. However, this infant church continued to grow. Therefore, this structure was enlarged in 1965. Later, the basement under the present sanctuary was built. This added twenty more classrooms but there was still a need for worship space. The current sanctuary was built on top of that basement in 1968. Finally, a multipurpose building was added late in 1978. This building included a gym/fellowship hall, kitchen and more classrooms and allowed for many activities for the whole church family. Unfortunately, this structure collapsed in August of 1996. With the loss of our fellowship and classroom space, we saw a steady decline in both the number of fellowship opportunities and the number of people in attendance both in Sunday School and worship.
In the Spring of 2004, we completed construction of our Educational Building. It holds several classrooms, a modern kitchen, and flexible fellowship space. This began a period of renewed growth in ministry and attendance with our attendance getting back to where it was 20 years ago.
In July of 2013, we dedicated our most recent addition to our church. We finished construction of a new multipurpose building and dedicated preschool area. We have now been restored to the amount of space that we had before the building collapse in 1996.
As we look to the future, we expect to see God continue to work in great ways through His church.