First Baptist Church

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Thomas U. Walter of Philadelphia provided the restrained but authoritative design for this Greek Revival church. Walter, best known as architect of the dome of the U.S. Capitol, designed some ten buildings for Virginia; the First Baptist Church is his only remaining Richmond work. Begun in 1839, the congregation moved from their former church building into this new structure in 1841. Walter’s design, dominated by a Doric portico in muris, had a strong influence on the city’s ecclesiastical architecture; at least four Baptist churches were modeled directly after it. During the Civil War, the church was used as an emergency hospital for Confederate soldiers. The congregation sold the building to the Medical College of Virginia in 1928. Threatened with demolition in the 1970s, Old First Baptist has since been sympathetically renovated by Virginia Commonwealth University for various campus uses.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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

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