Piedmont Heights Walking Tour
Morningside Baptist Church
1700 Piedmont Avenue NE
Morningside Baptist Church occupies the second-largest tract of land in Piedmont Heights. On a prominent knoll, rising 90 feet from its lowest point to its highest, it harbors stands of old growth trees and was known as Council Bluff by the Indians many years ago.
Founded in 1930, the church’s first sanctuary was in the Morningside neighborhood at the corner of Highland Avenue and Wessington Road. Over the years, a men’s Bible class building, pastor’s study, and an educational building were added. In 1945 the church’s 458 members decided they needed more space and hired architect Thomas W. Gardner to design a larger building.
Then, a parishioner discovered a beautiful fourteen-acre wooded lot for sale bounded by Piedmont Road, Pelham Road, and Montgomery Ferry Drive in the Piedmont Heights neighborhood. The congregation decided to buy it and relocate the church. The first service in the new sanctuary was held on October 21, 1951, and the Atlanta Journal called it “...one of the most beautiful, worshipful and attractive churches in the nation...with a spire tall enough to be seen in downtown Atlanta.”
The congregation soon exceeded 1,200 members and a recreation/activities building and an educational building were added. A parishioner later created a Memory Garden between the sanctuary and the educational building and planted a multitude of azaleas and dogwoods on the church grounds.
In 1973, the church created the Morningside Baptist Grade School, which was “...inter-racial and non-segregated...” with classes for the 1st–7th grades. In 2003, Heritage Preparatory School took over the Education Building and currently offers Pre-K through 8th grade classes.
In the late 1980s, the church sold a strip of its property along Pelham Road where ten homes were built, including one for the church pastor, although it was also eventually sold.