Located Downeast in Sedgwick, the First Baptist Church is one of the most impressive examples of Greek Revival architecture on the Maine coast. As in many early Maine communities, the orginal Sedgwick church was Congregational but underwent a large-scale conversion in 1805 to Baptist. The scale and elaborate design of this church indicate the growing importance of Baptist and other Protestant denominations in the early nineteenth century, reducing the once great social and political power of the more staid Congregationalism. Built in 1837, the church was designed by the distinguished Bangor architect Benjamin S. Deane, based on a drawing by Asher Benjamin.
First settled in 1763, Sedgwick became the site of a booming quarry business in the nineteenth century, as well as host to the fishing and shipbuilding industries. Sedgwick’s economy helps explain the majesty of its ecclesiastical architecture. Architect Deane went on to design several Greek Revival churches in the region, including ones in Blue Hill (1843) and Somesville (1852). Deane’s Sedgwick church bears a monumental projecting Doric portico with a pediment supported by four fluted Doric columns. The corners of the flush-boarded facade are pilastered; the remaining walls are clapboarded. The edifice flaunts a multi-staged tower, whereupon the first two square stages with entablatured cornices yield to an ornate belfry (with four, round-arched, louvered openings) topped by a round cupola graced by a spire.
The Baptist congregation disbanded in 2008 and the church is now owned by the Sedgwick Historical Society.
Green, Samuel M. American Art. The Ronald Press Company, New York, 1966.
Kelly, Richard D. Jr. “The First Baptist Church of Sedgwick,” Hancock County, Maine. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1973. National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C.