Now it’s an old church well past its prime in a next-to-be gentrified part of Oak Cliff.
It’s a commercial building in Oak Cliff priced less than $1 million.
But once it was the dream-come-true of a congregation.
When the Gospel Lighthouse Church first opened on Ewing at Georgia in 1950, it was a spectacle, unlike any church in Dallas.
First of all, the lighthouse, a blue neon beacon for Jesus that could be seen from miles away. And if you followed the light, amplified gospel music would lead you to the door. Inside the sanctuary, which seated 1,800, backlit crosses donned the walls. The preacher and musicians were lit from above. This was real gospel theater.
The Rev. J.C. Hibbard never trained for divinity, but he was a natural, taking up the profession after a tent revival he attended in Houston at age 19. He later became a popular radio preacher in Dallas.
The Gospel Lighthouse congregation started in the 1930s meeting with about 30 members under a circus tent and, for awhile, at Roger Q. Mills Elementary. They built their first church in 1940, when there were about 250 members, and that building still stands and is part of this sale. Ten years later, there were more than 1,200 members.
The new building, built by members, cost $500,000 to build in 1950, about $5.3 million adjusted for inflation in 2019. And they estimated the volunteer labor to be valued at about $250,000, the equivalent of about $2.6 million today.
The Gospel Lighthouse Church moved in 1972 to its current location on Illinois and Loop 12.
J.C. Hibbard wrote several gospel songs, and he and his wife later became televangelists.