Dr. Henry Carpenter
After the Civil War, Bowling Green's west side became home to a growing number of the city's African Americans. Many owned their properties and worked hard to support their families. As the black population grew, the need for educational, religious, and social institutions expanded. In 1886, the Bethel Baptist Church called Dr. Henry Carpenter as pastor. At the time, the church was located on West 10th Street (now Brown's Lock Road).
Henry David Carpenter (1859 - 1927) pastored New Bethel Baptist Church in Bowling Green and conducted the Carpenter School. Phone courtesy of Rev. Dr. Earl Jackson.
New Bethel Baptist Church
In the early-1890s, Carpenter, a graduate of Simmons College of Louisville, purchased this lot, at 517 West Main Street, and built a home for his family. Seeing the dearth of educational opportunities for African America children in the Delafield area and more broadly in Warren County, Carpenter began to conduct a school in the church building.
The church grew and when a fine brick building that had housed a mission of Bowling Green's First Baptist Church became available around 1900, Dr. Carpenter's Bethel congregation purchased it for $140,000.
When the church moved to its new location at 803
Church Street, the body voted to change the church's name to New Bethel Baptist Church. Dr. Carpenter faithfully pastored the congregation until his death in 1927.
The New Bethel Baptist Church 803 Church Street, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the St. Joseph's historic District.
After the Bethel congregation moved, Dr. Carpenter continued to use the older structure for educational purposes. In 1923, a new school was erected utilizing local funds and a grant from the Julius Rosenwald Fund Because of his untiring efforts as an educator, the new school, completed on July 16, 1923, was always known as the Carpenter School.
After Dr. Carpenter's death in 1927, his daughter Clara (Carpenter) Cole became the school's principal. After World War II, Clara and her husband, Westerfield F. Cole, tore down the old Carpenter home and an adjacent shotgun structure and build a new stone house, where they lived until the mid-1970s.
Dr. Carpenter's tombstone in Bowling Green's Mt. Moriah Cemetery recognizes his role as "Minister and teacher".