First Baptist Church, now known as Delevan Baptist Church, is directly related to the African American community that was growing in the eastern portion of the what is now the Fifeville and Tonsler Neighborhoods Historic District by the 1870s and is a significant contributing resource and visual landmark within the downtown Charlottesville’s West Main Street Historic District. Black Baptists who had formerly worshiped at Charlottesville’s white First Baptist Church purchased the property on which the Delevan Hospital stood (formerly known as “Mudwall”) in 1868 and began construction in 1877 of what would be called the First Colored Baptist Church, completed ca. 1883. Although several other Baptist congregations split off from the “first” church, this building made a bold statement for the African American community in downtown Charlottesville. It stands today as the only institutional building within the proposed district’s boundaries and would have been convenient to the growing number of African Americans in the Fifeville and Castle Hill neighborhoods.
The buildings and districts listed under the Charlottesville Multiple Resource Area nomination represent a cross section of all the city’s historic periods, from the founding of Charlottesville in the 1760s through the advent of the automobile and the impact it had on the city’s expansion. Also included are buildings that have played an important part in the history of Charlottesville’s black community. Delevan Baptist Church was listed in the registers under the Charlottesville MRA without a formal nomination document.
Updated historical and architectural documentation for the church was accepted in the registers in 2008. The amendment is attached to the 1982 National Register materials.
[VLR Accepted: 5/29/2008; NRHP Accepted: 7/2/2008]
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark