First Baptist Church of Raleigh, Raleigh

First Baptist Church of Raleigh, Raleigh

Standing at diagonal corners of Union Square in Raleigh there are two Baptist churches representing two different phases of the Gothic Revival style.

The very first Baptist Church on Wilmington Street was erected in the 1840s. After the Civil War, when African Americans still didn't have much say in church affairs, a debate arose as to whether the First Church should be split in two in a bid to better serve the needs of colored congregation.

At a church conference on June 5, 1868, African American members of the First Baptist Church on North Salisbury Street requested separation to form their own parish. The request was granted and thus marked the end of the bi-racial era of First Church, bringing into existence First Baptist Church, Colored.

By 1879, the property on Wilmington street was considered unsafe and had to be demolished. The lot was left vacant, except for the sturdy basement walls, which are now seen in the basement of the present day building. The area behind the auditorium of the Primary Department is the same wall of granite rock.

First Baptist Church, Colored purchased the Wilmington Street site in 1896, and in 1904 the cornerstone for the new Late Gothic Revival temple, which is currently in place, was laid.

In the 1910s the first pipe organ was added, and over the next few decades a number of modifications took place, including the lowering of the choir rostrum, adding two rooms and a baptistery, re-seating the auditorium with quartered oak pews, and the re-building of the church organ, which did not need to be replaced until 1974. Another major thing was the purchasing of a parsonage in the 1920s, followed by other renovations.

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First Baptist Church of Raleigh on Map

Sight Name: First Baptist Church of Raleigh
Sight Location: Raleigh, USA (See walking tours in Raleigh)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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