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Billy Sunday Tabernacle
Billy Sunday Tabernacle
TitleBilly Sunday Tabernacle
DescriptionPostcard of the Interior of the Billy Sunday Tabernacle
Historical ArticleFor seven weeks in the spring of 1916 William Ashley Sunday, ex-baseball player and evangelist better known as Billy Sunday, spoke from the platform of this crude tabernacle built of canvas and wood at Admiral and Lydia.

Fifteen carloads of lumber were used in the construction of the 215-by-302-foot structure which was a bit larger than old Convention Hall. There was seating capacity of 12,000 and standing room for 4,000 more.

The banner over Sunday's platform read Kansas City for Christ. An odd contrivance above the platform was the augophone, designed by the general superintendent of the building construction, to concentrate and throw the voice of the speaker. According to a news story of the day, to further its usefulness a 400-watt electric light is placed in the center of the augophone. A reflector directs the rays upward against the white surface of the sounding board and they are reflected back softened but putting the speaker in a glow of light. The 16-foot augophone, or whispering board, was made of sheet metal and its fluted form was said to be what made it effective.

During his campaigns for bringing souls to Christ and his fight against sin he preached 93 sermons in Kansas City. These sermons occupied a trunk in his bedroom at the home of Judge William Hockaday Wallace at 3200 Norledge Place in the northeast section of Kansas City.

Billy Sunday and his party of 40 were given the use of the Wallace home during the seven weeks of the revival services. The one stipulation made by Mrs. Wallace was that the Wallace houseman remain in charge of the mansion. Judge and Mrs. Wallace and their two children packed bags and spent the time in Grandfather C. C. Chiles' pre-Civil War home in Independence.

One of the children, Mrs. Mary Hill, who now lives at Vista del Rio, remembers the occasion. She says Sunday occupied the northwest bedroom on the second floor which overlooked the wooded Missouri Valley and after he left Kansas City wrote her parents that the stay here was the most pleasant and his room the most restful of any he had occupied while on the tour. (Today the old stone Wallace mansion serves as an annex to the Kansas City Museum of History and Science.)

Each day of Sunday's stay in Kansas City the newspapers carried stories of the revival meetings and of the numbers hitting the sawdust trail. Often whole sermons were reprinted.

A tearful farewell was reported after his last evening service, June 18, 1916. A front-page story told of the various persons introduced from the platform, such as A. Mills, who trained the thousands of local men in the choir and had them ready when Sunday arrived. At this last meeting he led them in singing Since Jesus Came Into My Heart. A total of 1,356,000 persons had attended the services in Kansas City and 20,646 of them hit the sawdust trail. The ministers of the city said several thousands were converted in the meetings who did not come forward.

J. W. Perry, president of the Southwest National Bank of Commerce made a plea for liberal collections. He spoke with the earnestness that brought tears to the eyes of men. He told how profoundly he had been affected by the meetings: I am president of the biggest bank in this southwest country, but I'd lay it all down in a minute if I could do what Billy Sunday has done. The thank offering was $32,000 and the evangelist was given a certified check for that amount before the train left.

The post card was printed in black and white by the National Bank Supply Company and published by Max Bernstein.

Kansas City Times
August 25, 1978

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectChurches
Sunday, Billy
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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