In the mid 1880s, Alaqua Baptist Church was established as a "brush arbor" by a small group of homesteaders who longed for a place to worship. At some time later, the name was change to Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church – perhaps because of the location of the first 3 acres deeded for the school and preaching house in 1903 by John Stafford, along a ridge that runs around this community. Since the early church and school were the cultural and social centers of the community, the events and affairs of both were often intertwined. Christmas and Easter programs, box suppers, singing schools, singing conventions and end of school exhibitions were some of the community activities of this early church-community.
The first "church" structure, made of logs,was used several years before a building of rough lumber with a rived roof was dedicated in 1915. Glass windows were added 7 years later and sometime later another sanctuary was constructed of lumber at the same location. In the late 1950s, members donated trees, hauled logs, cut lumber and provided the labor for a two-storied addition which housed some classrooms and space for a fellowship area. In the 1960s, as more space was needed, an "education wing" was finished – complete with bathrooms. And we suspect that the kitchen was added about then, too since there was "running water" inside the building. A front porch was added and a baptistery installed as well while members continued to supply free labor. Other improvements during the next two decades included adding: brick veneer on the sanctuary, a steeple, padded pews, a covered pavilion, fluorescent lights, central heating and air conditioning and stained glass windows. The vision for a larger building was also taking shape, as the Pleasant Ridge Family was growing…
Ground-breaking services for the newest part of the present-day U-shaped structure took place in June 1990, as a part of our Centennial Celebration. The church entered the "Challenge to Build" program to finance the addition of over 9,800 square feet of space which included a new sanctuary,a new fellowship hall and kitchen areas, more bathrooms, more space for classrooms and a church office. And once more, church members gave of themselves to provide the finances and the labor for the major part of the work; sub-contractors were hired for many of the more specialized jobs. Volunteers, organized through the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, also worked with the members, laying brick, hanging drywall and doing electrical wiring. Dedication services were held in June 1995 at Homecoming, 5 years after the ground-breaking. The construction project had cost approximately $203,000 including furnishing; just one-third of the cost projected to professionally contract the project. The six loans that were made during that time totaling $70,700, were all paid-in-full by the end of January 1997.
During the decade of 2000-2010 the old sanctuary was remodeled, gaining 5 classrooms for Bible Study and Sunday school, a prayer room, a choir room, library and additional restrooms.
Records indicate that until 1948 preaching was provided at Pleasant Ridge by a roving or circuit-riding preacher, who conducted services once a month on Saturday and Sunday; and at some point during the weekend he would moderate a business meeting. During those days some of the Bible study classes were conducted under the trees in the yard. "Sunday School" was not officially organized until 1926. Then in 1948, meetings were held twice a month for preaching; annual Homecoming services began about that time, too. By 1956, church services were being held every Sunday of the month.
Most pastors who served at Pleasant Ridge were considered bi-vocational until the early 1980s. (That simply means that they also worked other jobs to support their families-other than just pastoring.) With the growth of PRBC and the community, the need for a full-time pastor was realized. After all, that small group of homesteaders who longed for a place to worship had grown!