First Baptist Church
On January 27, 1879, 26 people met at the home of Mrs. T.W. Swift on Roberts Street to organize the First Baptist Church. By summer, they were meeting at Chapin’s Hall on NP Avenue. The Church was meeting there when their first supply pastor, Rev. George Vosburgh, came from the East to Fargo on business and supplied the pulpit during his stay of several months. The following summer (1880), the first Sunday School classes were held. The church was incorporated on July 20, 1881. The 1893 Fargo City Directory states that it had a membership of 158 at that time with Rev. W.L. Van Horn, pastor. A new building was started in the summer of 1881 and was complete and occupied before winter set in. The First Baptist Church was located at southeast corner of First Avenue and Eighth Street South.
In 1904, construction was started on a new building at the same location. It was dedicated on May 14, 1905, and is pictured above. The old church was moved to the east end of the lot to form the rear part of the sanctuary. In 1925, the Church embarked on building an Educational Wing. On January 30, 1927, the Educational wing was dedicated. Sunday School enrollment was over 300.
In 1956, the sanctuary building, which had been weakened by a heavy snow, was condemned by the city engineer. It was subsequently torn down. A new sanctuary was built and dedicated on May 17, 1959.
Because of reductions in membership, the church purchased the present building from the Mormon Congregation in September of 1978. That building is pictured to the right. Remodeling was begun in November of 1982 and was dedicated May 1, 1983.
In 1999, the baptistry was installed in the sanctuary and dedicated on March 19, 2000.
The previous sanctuary on Eighth Street burned January 25, 1981. The educational building was torn down and the corner cleared, leaving only a lovely weeping birch tree to remind us of our long heritage. The tree is now gone leaving only a parking lot.