The history of the Center Street Church of Christ dates to 1836 when the first congregation was organized in Washington County with 20 members. It was in 1848 when John T. Johnson and Robert Graham came from Kentucky to hold a twelve-day meeting in Fayetteville in which 35 were baptized and a congregation was formed in the city. Graham, a graduate of Bethany College, returned to Fayetteville as the minister for the new church in January 1849. By 1850, Graham had founded Arkansas College, a Christian college and the first degree-granting institution in the state of Arkansas. The school lasted until the Civil War when the campus was burned to the ground after the battle of Pea Ridge in March, 1861.
The church in Fayetteville continued to grow after the war and by 1885 had a new building on College Avenue on land that was once part of Arkansas College. A new minister, N.M. Ragland, introduced a piano into the Sunday school classes but was opposed by several members to its use in the worship. In the spring of 1886, the group opposing the piano in worship withdrew and started meeting with a mission effort on Government Avenue. They became known as the Government Avenue Church of Christ.
The Government Avenue congregation grew rapidly, and a new building was erected in 1888. In the 1920s the church grew so large they would have their summer meetings in a vacant lot across the street under a tent. By 1942, it became apparent that the church needed a new meeting place. Land was purchased on the corner of Center and Locust Streets but it was 1948 before construction began. It was September 11, 1949 when the new building was dedicated and the first worship service was conducted.
During the 1950s, the Center Street congregation grew dramatically. They established a student work at the University of Arkansas and in 1958 started the North Street Church of Christ. They were also instrumental in establishing the Combs Street Church of Christ in 1961. In 1977 they completed an educational and office addition to the building and remodeled the auditorium in 1989. An elevator was installed in 1997 to provide easier access and additional fellowship space. Expansion of the fellowship hall and the construction of new class space was completed in 2005.
Preachers who have served the congregation have been: Johnnie Martin, John T. Hinds, A.M. Foster, W.B. Ragsdale, C.C. Houston, L.E. Pryor, James E. Laird, Leo P. Mansfield, Willie Fritts, E.M. Borden, Fred McClung (two times), Harbert Hooker, Taylor Davis, George Curtis, Allen Harper, Glen Parks, Joe Spaulding, Charles Caldwell, Jr., Joe L. Banks (three times), F.I. Stanley, Jim Caldwell, Albert Gardner, Tom Dockery (two times), Larry Mitchell, Jack Harriman, Robb Hadley (current associate minister) and Jack English (current preaching minister).
The current leadership consists of six Elders: Allen Cochran, Ken Crudup, Lonnie Farrar, Jerry Henson, Rick McWhorter, and Wiley Vaughn. Others serving as elders since 1949 have been: Sam Couch, W.S. Fritts, C.E. Johnson, W.D. Lucas, O.L. Dailey, Walter Miller, Lester Fritts, D.B. Hebberd, Charles Johnson, Frank Gibson, Oris Salyer, Ralph Terry, Bill Sisemore, Glen Oxford and Arthur Caselman.
The Center Street church of Christ continues to reach out to the community with the simple story of what God has done for us through Jesus.