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Court Street Baptist Church

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1901–1903, Reuben H. Hunt. 1888, Sunday school. 1911, renovation and enlargement, M. L. Parker. 1957, Sunday school addition. 447 Court St.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Court Street Baptist Church (Virginia Division of Historic Resources)
  • Court Street Baptist Church (Richard Guy Wilson)

The visual impact of this massive building symbolizes the Baptist ascendancy in the city at the turn of the twentieth century. Court Street Baptist is the oldest Baptist congregation in southeastern Virginia, tracing its roots to 1789, when the Portsmouth and Norfolk Baptist Church was established in Portsmouth. As with Hunt's other Baptist churches in Norfolk and Newport News, the Richardsonian Romanesque is transformed into a highly idiosyncratic design. The exterior is constructed of pink rusticated rock-faced granite with limestone trim. Two towers flank a recessed porch formed by immense arches on the west facade. Although at six stories the right tower is twice the height of the left, the latter terminates in a fanciful cylindrical cupola. Both are capped by somewhat Byzantine-looking onion roofs.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Court Street Baptist Church", [Portsmouth, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 443-444.

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