Fourth Baptist Church

Historical Significance

Fourth Baptist Church was the first black church in the Church Hill community of Richmond, formed before the Civil War when a group of enslaved individuals assembled to pray. Once the Civil War began, the members of Leigh Street Baptist Church, a white church, allowed the worshipers to gather in their church basement. The Reverend Scott Gwathmey formally organized the Fourth Baptist Church on December 2, 1865. Members met in a Union barracks on Chimborazo Hill. The barracks were eventually demolished, but the congregation salvaged lumber from the debris and constructed their own church building.

In 1875 this church was replaced by another frame structure, on the northern side of Church Hill near what was to be the site of the present church. The present building was completed in 1884, three months after the former church was destroyed by fire. The church remains one of Richmond's oldest black congregations today. 

Physical Description

The church is a Greek Revival building designed by Thomas U. Walter of Philadelphia.

Geographical and Contact Information

2800 P Street
Richmond, Virginia
23223
Phone: 804-644-1013

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Fourth Baptist Church

Fourth Baptist Church

Source: Courtesy Virginia Dept. Historic Resources View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Fourth Baptist Church,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed July 27, 2017, http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/154.

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