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First Baptist Church

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1871–1877, Lysander Dudley. 813 Market St. (west corner of Market and 9th sts.)

Lysander Dudley had just completed his work at St. Francis Xavier Church when he began work on First Baptist, where he was a deacon and a member of the building committee. According to a sesquicentennial history of the church, he “had been greatly pleased with a new church building at his old home in Wallingford, Conn., and had procured a cut of it, together with its general plan and specifications.” The other committee members were duly impressed, and so this Parkersburg church was modeled on a New England precedent (although not on any church presently standing in Wallingford). Unfortunately, Dudley was killed by a runaway wagon just as building commenced.

The church is a good example of the pre-Richardsonian interpretation of Romanesque architecture known, from its German origins, as Rundbogenstil. Round-arched windows and doors, heavy lintels, and corbeled cornices are all salient characteristics of the style. The steeple is a 1973 aluminum copy of the original frame one, which was removed after being declared structurally unsafe. The auditorium has been remodeled several times over the years, and the Christian Education Building (William C. Dodd, architect) was added to the rear in 1958–1959.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "First Baptist Church", [Parkersburg, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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