FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
 
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Elias Carter's original design for the church consisted of Savannah's gray brick walls covered with stucco, a recessed portico, and a cupola.   Iron fencing was added in front of the church to prevent stray animals from gaining access.  In the renovation of 1921-1922, architect Henrik Wallin's design called for more of a Greek temple form.  The cupola was removed, the portico enclosed for a narthex, the front extended to create a new portico, and the entire building clad in limestone.

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Sanctuary C. 1938

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Leaving Services

January 22, 1950

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First Baptist Church Sanctuary

c. 1960

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Sanctuary Decorations - 1892

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This rare photograph of the church interior shows the decorations for the anniversary celebration of the Sabbath School, April 30, 1893.   Before 1921 there was no choir loft and the congregation sat in boxed pews.  Notice the floor heating grate in the center and the elaborate wall decoration above the wainscoting and in the central niche.

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Although a poor photograph, this image, which appeared in the Savannah Morning News, November 25, 1900, is the only known picture showing the galleries before they were removed in the 1921-1922 renovation.  The balconies were located on three sides of the sanctuary and were supported by cast iron columns.

Leroy Cleverdon burned the church mortgage during a Sunday morning service in 1946.  The choir loft above him was extended in 1967.

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The fountain facing First Baptist Church was the result of the effort of individuals and committees of First Baptist Church and Independent Presbyterian Church and was installed in 1871.

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Savannah in the 1890s experienced a number of unusual weather phenomena.  In addition to four hurricanes that hit the coast during this decade, on January 8, 1893, snow fell.  Another snow storm hit February 15, 1895.  During one of these storms people enjoyed the rare accumulation on Chippewa Square.  The church cupola rises above the trees in the background.  Photo courtesy of the Georgia Historical Society

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The hurricane of 1898 seriously damaged the church building, ripping off a  large sections of the roof and causing water damage to the sanctuary.  Across Whitaker Street townhouses stand where the Sunday School would later be constructed.

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