Bethel Missionary Baptist Church was founded in the late 1800’s by Reverend John (Jack) H. Yates, an early leader of Houston’s African American community. Located in Freedmen’s Town, a post-Civil War Houston neighborhood founded by freed slaves, the Church has had three sanctuaries on the same site, with the earliest constructed in the 1890’s. The first structure was destroyed by the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The third and most recent structure was abandoned in 1997 and nearly destroyed by fire in 2005. White Oak Studio led the team along with PGAL and the City of Houston to restore the property by retaining and reinforcing the existing exterior walls and establishing a beautiful park on the interior. PGAL’s design includes seating that is reminiscent of church pews; interpretive panels to highlight the illustrious history; open web trusses to reinforce the structure without obscuring light and views to the open sky; refurbished masonry and accents; window openings that allow ample daylight; decorative fencing to secure the site while welcoming visitors; and beautiful landscaping throughout to propel the revitalization in the area.