New Donation Will Provide Roof Repairs for Historical African American Church in the Ozarks

churchRepairing a historic building can be a difficult task for many reasons. For example, the owners not only need to make sure the company is capable of working with older materials, but also may need to raise money to pay for costly renovations, especially if the building is a public one. Until recently, these were only two of the challenges facing the Timmons Temple, a rare and important church in Springfield, MO. However, the church and those working to save it recently received some excellent news: Timmons Temple received a substantial donation from Great Southern Bank, which will allow the restoration committee to pay for a new roof.

Timmons Temple is an African American church, built in 1932. A product of the Jim Crow era, congregations during this time period were segregated, making the building an important cultural, historical and architectural landmark of the Ozarks. Moreover, the church is also known for its unique, ornate rockwork, which forms several ornamental figures, bans and sunbursts. The stones were taken from the nearby Jordan Creek, where the church performed its baptisms.

Despite its 83-year old legacy, Timmons Temple was threatened when it was announced that a new apartment building would be built on the site July 2015. Immediately, the community began working to raise money to relocate the church to a new foundation in Silver Springs Park, three blocks from its original location. In order to secure the walls, lift the building onto a hydraulic lift and drop utility lines on its journey, the committee announced that it would need to raise $200,000. By December 2014, the group had fortunately reached this goal and successfully moved the church to its new site in early April. However, it was soon announced that they needed an additional $50,000 to preserve the building for future generations.

With the donation from Great Southern Bank, Timmons Temple has reached $145,000 of its $250,000 total goal. Currently, the committee plans to use the money to repair its aging roof. However, if the Timmons Temple project has inspired you, don’t go wondering how to inspect your roof just yet, especially if you own an older building.

“If your property has an older roof, it is important you choose your roofing contractor carefully,” says Patrick Devers, Gundaker Construction and Restoration Group. “Ask questions regarding the warranty and workmanship and what kind of materials will be used, and make sure the company has the necessary insurance coverage. Get a written estimate that provides an accurate, detailed description of the work to be performed, and that your contractor knows and will be in compliance will all city building codes. Lastly, ask for a list of references and contact them and ask about their experience and the work performed.”

The success of the Timmons Temple project is a credit to a number of individuals and businesses throughout the Ozarks, even the company behind the new apartment building. Over the course of the fundraising, Greenway Studios has donated an estimated $70,000 and repeatedly extended their deadline for breaking ground; the company says it was unaware of the structure’s historical importance.

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