Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

127-0318 Fourth Baptist Church

Fourth Baptist Church
Photo credit: Calder Loth, 2011

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 05/15/1979

NRHP Listing Date 09/07/1979

NRHP Reference Number 79003291

Richmond’s Fourth Baptist Church is a symbol of black religious strength in the Confederacy’s former capital during the decades following emancipation. The congregation began as a regular assembly of slaves in their quarters and transferred to the basement of Leigh Street Baptist Church in 1861. In 1865, under the leadership of the Rev. Scott Gwathmey, the congregation built its own church with lumber salvaged from Union barracks. This was replaced in 1875 by a simple frame church. The 1875 structure burned in 1884, a month before the completion of the present church. Situated on the northern side of Church Hill, the present building boasts a stylish Victorian interior behind a plain but dignified Greek Revival exterior inspired by Richmond’s Old First Baptist Church. The Fourth Baptist Church continues to house one of the city’s oldest African American congregations.

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: September 21, 2021