Dr. Jack Hyles, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, began praying about starting a Christian school several years before Hammond Baptist Schools actually became a reality. In the late 1960’s, the Christian school concept was virtually unknown in America. The expense, the effort, and the risks involved were enormous for one church to think about attempting. But his burden and prayers overcame all the apparent obstacles of starting a Christian school in the Calumet region.
In due time, Bro. Hyles decided that if the Lord would provide a suitable building, at a price that the church could afford, he would take it as a sign that the Lord wanted a Christian school for the First Baptist Church. In October 1969, the old Wallace School in Calumet Township was offered for sale. Bro. Hyles attended a special township meeting with a sealed bid. Our bid was the only one submitted that evening and we walked away with a school building for the miraculously low price of $50,000. Although the old Wallace School had not been used in many years and had fallen into dispair and vandelism, it still had several dozen classrooms, cafeteria space, a gymnasium, offices, locker rooms, and a science lab. It was almost unbelievable that we could have purchased it at such a bargain; it was Bro. Hyles praying for a building, and it was God answering his prayers.
The local news media described the school as “…an abandoned building.” However, a congregation with a vision and a burden saw beyond the broken windows and fallen plaster to a time when each room would be filled with students eager to learn and do the will of God.
The people of First Baptist Church, young and old, banded together to rebuild and remodel the new Hammond Baptist High School. This was the dream of a lifetime. There is no way to describe the excitement of starting our own Christian school. Men, women, children, and grandparents worked day and night to get the new school building remodeled before the fall semester.
The excitement was obvious on opening day 1970. Thousands had sacrificed to buy and then remodel the old building. Women had sold their diamond wedding rings. Men had taken on extra jobs. Many parents had taken out loans and paid their tuition five years in advance just to give the new school a chance to open its doors.
And open they did. During the first year of the school, 277 students showed up for classes in the sixth through twelfth grades.
Brother Hyles said of that opening. “We now reach the climax of months of hoping, working, dreaming, and planning. For the biggest thing about a school is you: the student. The members are not made for the church; the church is made for the members. The patients are not made for the hospital; the hospital is made for the patients. Students historic occasion to the Hammond Baptist High School. As a “Swordsman,” carry your saber proudly and gracefully as we together sharpen our swords for Him.”
Hammond Baptist High School remained grades six through twelve for only one year. The 1971-1972 school year saw the creation of Hammond Baptist Grade School. They used an old church building on Sibley Street that later became the First Baptist Church youth center.
In 1972, Brother Hyles, with the help of Russell Anderson, and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, started Hyles-Anderson College. The new college needed a campus, and Hammond Baptist High School was to benefit.
Twenty-one acres of swampland were purchased in Schererville, Indiana for the campus. The new campus was to be called Baptist City. Hyles-Anderson College was located in what is now the grade school building. The high school and junior high were located in the present high school wing. Hammond Baptist Grade School was housed in the present day junior high wing. At this time we still had a grade school in Hammond as well as at Baptist City.
The first college chapel was located in the present day junior high chapel and science lab. The pulpit was located at the north end of what is now the science lab.
In the summer of 1974, Hyles-Anderson College outgrew its buildings and moved to its present campus on Burr Street in Crown Point, Indiana. The Hammond Baptist Grade School and the Baptist City School were consolidated, and they took over the old college buildings.
Hammond Baptist High School continued to grow. In the fall of 1976, the seventh and eighth grades left Hammond Baptist High School to form Hammond Baptist Junior High School. In 1978, City Baptist High School was founded. Up until this time, all the bus kids attended Hammond Baptist High School.
134 West Joliet Street
Hammond Baptist Schools is a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.