Leonidas Polk visited Shreveport in 1839 and held the
first religious service downtown. 1 Although
Rev. William Steele worked in Caddo Parish as traveling
minister, there was no permanent congregation in the
Shreveport until 1845. Small services were held in the
courthouse until lands on the corner of Market and
Fannin Streets were donated by Pauline Pickett in 1859.
The Civil War interrupted the construction, but the work
was completed by volunteers under the supervision of
Rev. A. B. Russell. 2
They dedicated their first building on April 10, 1861.
3 The congregation was known as Grace Church,
but the name was changed to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
in 1851.4 Under Rev. Joseph H. Spearing the
congregation moved into the new church on the corner of
Texas and Cotton Streets, where the Church of the Holy
Cross is presently located.5
was rebuilt after a fire on December of 1918, which had
left only a shell. The congregation was able to rebuild
the church for about $100,000. Eight years later a large
residence and 170 feet of property were bought for
$85,000 for use as a parish house.6
Frank E. Walters was pastor when the church began to
build on its present site. In April of 1946 John D.
Ewing, N. Hobson Wheless, Charten H. Lyons, and J. P.
Evans gave the land where the present church now stands.
Architects William C. Gilmer and Jack Annan designed the
Norman Gothic structure, which was built in 1952. The
first story contains a library, the vesting room, a
kindergarten room, a rehearsal room for the choir, and
an office for the assistant music director. The second
floor contains the auditorium, a kitchen, and church
offices. The top floor contains church school
classrooms. The original fixtures were moved to the new
church. The church has hand wrought Swedish iron light
fixtures, a hand carved altar, and a rose window. The
tower rises to a height of 100 feet and contains
classrooms and a library.7
The church was wired for telecasting, a loud speaker
system, and a movie projector.8
It also had a heating and cooling
system installed that operated from beneath the floors.
The sanctuary is able to seat 1,200 people.10
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