Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
by Johnny Curry
The Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church was first organized on May 21, 1875,
with 34 enrolled members. The membership listed many family names
long associated with the Hueytown community including six Waldrop's, seven
Huey's, six Robertson's and two Dabbs. Most of these families had
previously been members at Rock Creek Baptist.
The church elected as its first deacons, Mr. S. T. Huey, Mr. J. B.
Glennand Mr. J. M. Knight, who were all previously ordained. Brother
E. B. Waldrop was unanimously elected as the first Pastor. For many
years to come the Pastor would be elected on an annual basis. That
first church building was made from 12 inch heart pine boards which were
dressed on both sides with a hand plane and then kiln dried. This
church building which served the members for 22 years and also served as a
school known as Highland Academy. It was located on the top of the
hill near the present entrance to the church cemetery.
Those early church members were very strict in the code of conduct that
members were expected to live by. Church records indicate that in
1879 one member was dismissed for dancing and allowing a dance to be
hosted at his house. Another member was brought up on charges or
swearing and public drunkeness. While this kind of issue being
raised was not uncommon in the early days church members were equally
anxious to restore erring individuals to membership and were quick to
forgive such transgressions.
In December, 1880 a church Sabbath school was organized and Brother M.
M. Wood was elected Superintendent. Then in February of 1888 Brother
Waldrop resigned as Pastor. Near this time the church had
grown to almost 120 members. A few comforts were added to the church
in April of 1898 when the floor was carpeted at a cost of 38 cents a yard,
except for the rostrum area where they purchased the more expensive 55
cents per yard material.
In 1897 the original church building was replaced with a much larger frame
building that was made of dressed weather boarding and frosted peak
windows. It had two doors on the front. One was used for the
women to enter and the men used the other. They sat facing each
other on opposite aisles. This structure was located near present
day Hueytown Road and served the congreation for 23 years.
In 1899, Pleasant Ridge left the Birmingham Baptist Association and joined
the new fledgling Bessemer Baptist Association.
In 1921, a then modern multi-storied brick sanctuary which seated
approximately 400 was begun under the pastorate of Dr. J. A. Hendricks.
This building was razed in the late 1960's and today is the parking area
to the right side of the church.
In 1956 the church authorized the construction of the present sanctuary
under the pastorate of Rev. Judson Jones who first came to Pleasant Ridge
in 1944. He would lead the church during its period of
greatest expansion in terms of both membership and building construction.
In 1947 a cemetery assocation was formed and perpetual care was
established. Today Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church is one of the
largest membership Baptist Churches in western Jefferson County.