Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

118-0025 First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 04/21/1981

NRHP Listing Date 09/09/1982

NRHP Reference Number 82004570

This vigorous composition, with its many gables highlighted by a needle spire, is perhaps Virginia’s best representative of the High Victorian Gothic style, a richly ornamented interpretation of the Gothic mode inspired by the writings of John Ruskin. The architect for Lynchburg’s First Baptist Church was John R. Thomas, who first practiced in Rochester and later in New York City. Thomas also designed the well-known Brooks Hall at the University of Virginia. Construction of the church began in 1884; in 1928 the architecturally compatible Sunday-school wing, designed by Stanhope Johnson, was added. One of the building’s highlights is its richly colored, locally manufactured, Victorian stained glass. Commissioned for a well-to-do and influential congregation, the church was the product of an era of growth and prosperity in Lynchburg. The spire was blown down during a 1993 storm but has since been rebuilt.  The First Baptist Church is a significant landmark within the Court House Hill/Downtown Historic District.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: February 11, 2021