Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

118-0156 Court Street Baptist Church

Court Street Baptist Church
Photo credit: Calder Loth/DHR, 1980

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/16/1981

NRHP Listing Date 07/08/1982

NRHP Reference Number 82004569

Court Street Baptist Church, located in the Court House Hill/Downtown Historic District, is the mother church of Lynchburg’s black Baptists and is the most conspicuous landmark of the city’s African American heritage. When completed in 1880, it was the city’s largest church and its spire dominated the skyline. The congregation was organized in 1843 when black Baptists separated from the parent First Baptist Church. The building was designed by a local white architect, Robert C. Burkholder, but was built exclusively with black labor. Although its location in a fashionable white neighborhood caused considerable controversy, the completed church was praised by the local press which wrote: “With its tall and symmetrical spire pointing silently but unmistakably heavenward, it stands an almost imperishable monument to the vigor, enterprise and religious zeal of the society to which it belongs.” The steeple, damaged in a 1993 storm, and subsequently removed, has been rebuilt.

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

Updated: January 25, 2022