An iconic historical property has been purchased by a Houston couple to create an event center in the downtown business district.
Travis and Tiffani Root bought a nearly 100-year building that once was home to the First Baptist Church at Mill and First Streets. The seller is Houston Optimist Club, which acquired it in 2009. They assumed ownership Sept. 1.
The Roots plan to operate the Urbyn Roots Event Center and announced the first event is Olde Thyme Christmas Market on the evening of Dec. 9. They own another business northwest of the acquired property, Dry Creek Marketplace.
The property has a rich history in Houston. First Baptist Church of Houston opened its doors in December 1883, as a mission extension of Ozark Baptist Church. Its first location was quarters on Ozark Avenue, near where it intersects with Pine Street across from the school.
The church moved to the First Street location in April 1924, nearly 100 years ago.
In 1976, the church moved to its present property. In 1979, a local not-for-profit group, Ozark Area Care and Counseling Inc., bought the church property through a grant to bring health services under one roof. Over the years, it has served many functions, ranging from Texas County Health Department quarters and the Houston Community Betterment and Arts Council of Houston operated the Stained Glass Theatre. The Houston Optimist Club purchased the property in December 2009, records show.
The fitness center on ground level is still open.