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First Baptist Church

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1831–1833, Elias Carter; 1839 enlarged; 1921–1922 remodeled, Henrik Wallin; 1966 and 2010 restored. 223 Bull St.

Soon after it was chartered in 1800, the Savannah Baptist Society built its first meetinghouse on Franklin Square, on the site now occupied by First African Baptist Church (5.3). The present church, designed as a Doric in antis structure with a square cupola, was similar to Carter’s Central Congregational Church in his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, which he was designing at the same time. (Both are also reminiscent of plate 57 in An Improved and Enlarged Edition of Biddle’s Young Carpenter’s Assistant [1833].) In 1921–1922 the steeple and interior gallery were removed, the former portico was transformed into a narthex, the hexastyle unfluted Corinthian portico (with Tower of the Winds capitals) was added, and the entire exterior reclad in limestone. Both the 1966 and 2010 restoration campaigns involved installing steel beams in the roof structure; the latter, by J. T. Turner Construction, also revealed that the interior originally had decorative stenciling along the upper walls.

Writing Credits

Robin B. Williams with David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler


What's Nearby


Robin B. Williams with David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler, "First Baptist Church", [Savannah, Georgia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Savannah, Robin B. Williams. With David Gobel, Patrick Haughey, Daves Rossell, and Karl Schuler. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2016, 104-105.

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