This Week in Texas Methodist History September 30
Boynton Chapel MEC Hosts Houston District Conference October 3, 1900
Delegates to the Houston District Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church convened at Boynton Chapel at the corner of Dallas and Paige (about 10 blocks southeast of the current
on October 3, 1900. Less than a month
earlier coastal George R. Brown Convention Center Texas had suffered the
greatest natural disaster in United
States history, the hurricane of September
6-8, 1900. Newspapers still printed
lists of known victims not just from Galveston
but from Alvin, Brazoria, Anahuac, Dickinson, and other
coastal cities as far inland as Columbus and LaGrange. Newspapers also printed notices from ,
and other states appealing for news about loved ones. New York, Pennsylvania
The recent mega-disaster was the major concern of the delegates. The pastor of
St. Paul’s Galveston,
Rev. J. H. Reed, gave an impassioned appeal for aid to the survivors. Dr. L. B. Scott, editor of the Southwestern Christian Advocate, came
from New Orleans
to report on relief efforts. He also
addressed the assembled delegates at Boynton Chapel.
After the presentations from Reed and Scott, the delegates got down to business.
One of the most important items of district conferences of the era was licensing local preachers, and one candidate presented himself for licensure. J. D. Spivey was granted a local preacher’s license, but on the condition that he quit using tobacco.
The most interesting part of the conference consisted of the consideration of two questions in panel discussion form.
- “Does the modern class leader fulfill the requirements of his office according to Wesley’s standards?”
- “Is the probationary system necessary today in the Methodist Episcopal Church?”
Each discussion began with a formal statement to which the panelists responded. We have no record of the points made by the discussants, but both questions must have elicited interesting discussions.
In October 1900 Texans were focused on relief efforts. No one could know that only a few months later and less than 100 miles from the devastation an event would occur that would transform
Texas. The event was the Spindletop Oil Field
discovery near Beaumont.
Houston, rather than Beaumont, was the main beneficiary of the Spindletop discovery and subsequent oil strikes. Its population boomed as petroleum exploration and refining companies made their headquarters in
Allied industries including banking, law, transportation, machine works,
and insurance all expanded.
The neighborhood around Boynton Chapel changed. Before 1900 the east side of
Houston was mainly mixed residential. Houstonians of various income levels rubbed
shoulders with each other. In 1910 the
railroads built a Union Station to accommodate passengers. Its construction accelerated changes in
residential patterns on the east side of downtown Houston.
Hotels replaced some houses, and some of the old houses were remodeled into
apartments and boarding houses. They
catered to travelers and railroad workers who were more transient that the
former residents. Eventually Boynton
Chapel moved about a mile south of its former location at Dallas and Paige to
2812 Milby. Boynton Chapel UMC continues to proclaim the
Good News as it has done so for more than a century. Parts of Union Station have been preserved as Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.