Michael Bushnell

In 1886 Thomas Stafford and Charles Murray, students at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., along with some members of the Olive Street Baptist Church, organized a mission church at the corner of 20th Street and College Avenue called the Walnut Grove Mission. The small church grew rapidly and in 1895 Samuel Bales and his sister Mary donated a vacant parcel at 12th Street and Bales Avenue to the effort.

A small chapel was erected on the site, and within three years membership had blossomed to over 300 people. Four years later it was the second largest Baptist church in the state of Missouri. In 1941, just prior to the onset of World War II, membership at Bales Baptist Church stood at roughly 1,400.
In 1944 the church began its men’s Bible class entitled “Men for Men.” Under the leadership of Associate Pastor Alfred Gibson and Sunday School President R.E. Whittington, the men’s class was extremely popular throughout the city.

This real photo advertising postcard shows the “new” church built in 1920. The card was mailed to Miss Mae Umbarger of Sand Creek, Okla., on November 26, 1950, by Mr. A.T. Cartmell of 2647 E. 8th Street.