|First Mexican Baptist Church
Mexican neighbors came to Fresno County gold fields as early as
1848. The First Mexican Baptist Church was founded about 1920.
A missionary, Rev. Sims, sent by the Northern Baptist Convention,
organized the church. It was completed in 1924 at its present
location. The cost was $25,000. The members did much of the
construction of the church.
The church has prided itself on service to the community, not just its own congregation. There once was a Christian health clinic attached to the church and a Hispanic Masonic Lodge. The lodge sponsored burials for the church members who could not pay for their own.
In 1967 and 1968, the City of Fresno was planning a Chinatown renewal and checking all buildings for public safety code violations. The First Mexican Baptist Church had some serious problems. The City referred it to a company that wanted $75,000 to repair the building. This amount was far more than the membership could afford. Rev. Noe Lopez met a engineer named Juan Musquiz, who hired Richard Okata to reinforce the entire building with metal. He charged only $738.
The City approved the project and Musquiz and Okata worked in many of the buildings still standing in Chinatown today.
|Location: 1340 Mariposa Street - Fresno, CA 93706 VIEW MAP >>