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First Baptist Church of Jacksonville was organized on February 1, 1841, at the Home of Moore C. Goltra on West State Street.   While not actually the first Baptist church in town, it was the first to claim the name, as it was the first one here related to the Baptist missionary societies from the East Coast (the predecessor of our current American Baptist Churches in the USA).  Twenty-four members established this church. 

The church body met first in members’ homes, then moved to a location at West State and Dunlap Court, then to a location further west on State St.  In 1897, the members agreed to purchase the property and building of the former Central Presbyterian Church at the corner of West State and Church Streets.  From 1897 to 1966 First Baptist Church enjoyed fame as one of the Churches of the Four Corners at this location.   Currently, only Grace Methodist Church and Trinity Episcopal Church remain at that famous intersection.

The First Baptist location at the Four Corners was tragically destroyed by fire in 1966.  The church leaders decided that the opportunity had come for them to rebuild and expand.  From 1966 to 1970 the church met at Rammelkamp Chapel on the Illinois College campus, until the new building was completed. The new location was west of the Illinois College campus, off Mound Road; the postal address was 1 Forest Hill Drive.  The address was later changed to 1701 Mound Road, which is the address we call home today.

The building’s design is significant in that it is fan-shaped and is said not to have one ninety-degree corner.   The sanctuary contains three sections of pews, arranged in a semi-circle, with a very short distance from the back of the church to the chancel.  The baptistry extends out into the chancel, underneath a large wooden cross that seemingly floats in midair.    It is in view of this cross that we offer our Sunday worship service.

 

 


   
      (C) 2010 First Baptist Church, 1701 Mound Road, Jacksonville, IL 62650