Former Home to Decatur Baptist College Tragically Lost to Fire

Wise County Museum

Fire tragically destroyed the Wise County Heritage Museum in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 18. Located at 1602 South Trinity St. in Decatur, the building was also the administrative home to Decatur Baptist College, the fore-runner to DBU, established in 1898 as a junior college.

For nearly seventy years, young men and women received a Christ-centered education in Decatur, with many going on to complete their degrees at four-year colleges or moving on to seminary. In 1965, the College moved to its current location in the southwest foothills of Dallas, where it became Dallas Baptist College and later Dallas Baptist University in 1985.

For the past several decades, the former administrative building served as the location of Wise County Historical Association and a museum that preserved the county's local history, including that of Decatur Baptist College.

Under DBU Presidents Dr. Gary Cook (1988-2016) and Dr. Adam C. Wright (2016-present), the connections between Dallas Baptist University, Decatur DBC Alumni, and Wise County grew, as DBU would routinely host events and reunions at its former location, highlighting the strong heritage that has made DBU what it is today.

"We are shocked and saddened about this loss," said Dr. Wright. "The people of Decatur are our family, and the Wise County Heritage Museum was a special part of DBU's heritage."

"Each year, DBC and DBU graduates traveled back to the Wise County Heritage Museum to reminisce and pay tribute to the heritage of this storied institution," added Matt Duce, DBU's Director of Alumni Affairs. "Although we are very saddened, the DBU Alumni Association remains grateful for the legacy of Christ-centered higher education which began there and lives on at DBU."

"In the years following DBC's relocation to Dallas, the administrative building remained an enduring symbol of the impact and legacy of Christian education to the City of Decatur and all who visited," said Dr. Wright. "While the DBU Family is saddened by the loss of the historical administrative building, we remain encouraged that the mission and vision that was born within its walls continues to this day. In what now appears as providential, former DBC alumni W.W. Melton, once said, 'Fire, storm, or other destructive agencies may completely wipe the college out of existence, but all the destructive forces in the land could not wipe out the influence of that school.' Our commitment to Christ-centered higher education, which once began in the administrative building in Decatur, is being carried forward with faith and determination on the campus of Dallas Baptist University."

Written by Dr. Michael Whiting

Dr. Michael Whiting is the Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.