The , but that property has a history of its own dating back to the 1840s.
In 1849, the church’s property was part of at least 160 acres—encompassing what is now the entire downtown business district—owned by Garrett Spinks. In 1852, Spinks sold 40 acres to for $1,000. That property later was developed into downtown .
In 1884, Spinks had a two-story structure built where the First Baptist Church now stands, which was used as the Spinks Hotel until Spinks’ death two years later. The 24-room hotel had a slate roof and was the largest building in the area.
“In 1884, if you don’t count houses, there were probably only two or three two-story buildings,” said Jason Edwards, Paulding County’s historian.
After Spinks died, his property was bought in 1887 by James L. Hight, who was a land dealer. Soon after Hight bought it, the building was used as an opera house, and though that is what it was called, it wasn’t necessarily used for operas.
“I don’t know exactly what was meant by opera house, but I know they had dances there like a dance hall,” Edwards said.
Admission at that time was 25 cents for men. Women who arrived with chaperones were admitted free of charge.
In January 1889, Dallas High School opened in the building for its first term with 90 students ranging from elementary school to high school.
“It was a high school, but back then it meant it was all grades,” Edwards said.
Tuition was between $1.25 and $2 a month, and students received instruction in the core subjects as well as algebra, geometry, Latin and Greek.
In 1895, when the school closed for a year because it didn't have a teacher, the building was leased to Dr. Mat Owens, who used the building for The Southern Surgical Center and Sanitarium. History records aren’t clear as to how long the hospital was in use, but Edwards said it likely wasn’t long since there is only one reference to it.
"It couldn’t have been that long," Edwards said. "It might not have even been a year."
The school likely reopened in 1896 since the first three students graduated in 1898.
The property was purchased by the church in 1892, and the building continued to be used as a school until 1905 when a new school building was constructed where now stands. It was then that the property on Main Street began to be used as a church.
“I really think that lot had most of its history before the church was built,” Edwards said. “In the grand scheme of things, (the church) is kind of recent. That’s the one thing I loved about researching all of it, digging back to find out what was there.”