A Brief History of Block 13, City of Beaumont, Lots 63, 64, and 65
The area that became Beaumont was first settled by Nancy and Noah Tevis. They built a cabin in 1824 in the area known as Tevis Bluff. Noah died in 1835 and Nancy married a second time to Joseph Hutchinson in 1843. The Beaumont townsite was formed from land of Nancy Tevis Hutchinson (50 acres) and Joseph Grigsby (50 acres.) Joseph P. Pulsifer Company, a partnership of Pulsifer, Henry Millard, and Thomas B. Huling, contributed 100 acres to give a total of 200 acres for the townsite.
Block 13 is shown in the 1894 Sanborn map bordered by Pearl, Forsythe, Main, and Fannin Streets and consisting of Lots 61 to 72. On April 10, 1867, John J. Herring sold Lot 65 to a group of 23 subscribers for $105.00. The deed record stipulated that the property was to be used for education or worship. Although no school or church was immediately built on the lot, one of the subscribers, Robert H. Leonard, bought Lots 61 to 64 along Forsythe Street in the years 1869-70. On the five lots were built a law office and two residences. In 1887, the five lots were sold to George W. Carroll, H.W. Smith, and Patillo Higgins, leaders of the First Baptist Church. That same year, Lot 65 on the corner of Pearl and Forsythe became the the site of a little one-story red brick church, built for $4,000. The entrance was on the corner of the building facing the intersection of Pearl and Forsythe Streets and was topped with a steeple.
January 10, 1901 was a monumental day for the city of Beaumont when the Lucas Gusher blew in at Spindletop. The population of the city increased with oil production on the hill as did the wealth of the residents. Membership in the First Baptist Church also increased and on March 9, 1902, the congregation decided to build a new church on the same site, which required the demolition of the red brick structure. The church was completed in 1903 on Lots 65, 64, and 63. The building was clad in Carthage limestone, quarried at Carthage, Missouri. The style of the building was Romanesque Revival architecture.
The Baptist congregation grew too large of the church and moved to their new building at the corner of Willow and Broadway. On June14, 1923, Captain W. C. Tyrrell bought the First Baptist Church for $70,000 and donated it to the city of Beaumont to be used as a library. Since the new use of the building was vastly different than it uses as a church, major changes were needed. Captain Tyrrell did not want the exterior of the building to be greatly changed. The architectural firm of Livesay and Wiedemann were hired to remodel the interior of the church. The floor was replaced, a new heating plant was installed and partitions and offices were removed. The renovations were complete by June 17, 1926. The Tyrrell Public Library was officially opened on September 17, 1926.
The city built a new building at 801 Pearl Street to become the Beaumont Public Library; it opened on September 22, 1974. The Tyrrell Public Library became a historical and genealogical research library in 1975 and is now known as the Tyrrell Historic Library. The current address of Block 13, Lots 63, 64, and 65 is now 695 Pearl Street.