First Calvary Baptist

35.99167, -78.919715

Cross Street
Year built
~late 1940s
Year demolished
Construction type
Building Type
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Thanks first off to Andy Edmonds who has been commenting on the destruction of this church building on my Maplewood Cemetery post.

Per the church website, First Calvary Baptist Church was organized in 1884 as Second Baptist Church on Cameron (now Cornell) Street. The white Second Baptist Church was located at West Chapel Hill and Shepherd Sts. - its name was later changed to Temple Baptist.

In 1885, a wood frame building was erected with Rev. Henry Johnson as its first Pastor. Reverend W.D. Smith later became the pastor in 1926 and was responsible for acquiring the Morehead Ave./Kent Street church site. It's unclear as to what structure was built on this site, but it appears to have been another wood frame structure from the 1937 Sanborn Map

In 1949 the church's name was changed from Second Baptist Church to First Calvary Baptist Church. In July 1949, the congregation first utilized a newly constructed brick sanctuary.

In 1987, an educational building on the property adjacent to the church was erected.

The church is heavily involved in the community, including the Lyon Park Community Center. Per the church website

"Due to the continued growth of the First Calvary Baptist Church, the church is undergoing a church expansion project that will include a sanctuary that will accommodate one-thousand worshippers and educational space."

Unfortunately, I thought I had a picture of this intact structure, but I don't.

A not-very-good picture from the tax records.

Site, 10.21.08

Rubble, 10.21.08

The grand plan.

Interestingly, it appears that the church is temporarily worshiping in the former Center Theater at Lakewood.

[I'm reasonably certain I can track down a 1950s era picture of this church and will update.]

Find this spot on a Google Map.

35.99167 -78.919715


I have got to say, the new church looks (from the rendering) that it is going to be an improvement. If only the City of Durham would use this architect instead of the ones who have given us the "beautiful" renderings posted on this site.

The drawing isn't bad looking... but when does a finished architectural product look like the drawing? Not often enough, I tell ya.

And, do they actually have 1,000 people to attend that church? I'd be surprised!

Call me pessimistic but when churches in Durham expand it is always into the bordering neighborhood. I liked the old building and its wonderful stained glass windows. Despite all of the good community work, this church expansion means houses go and a "New" church always looks new.
Why did they build to the maximum height? What is the message?
Will the old windows be used again? Where are 1000 people going to park? Will the City put a cap on any more churches in this area? At 8 from 147 to Lakewood ought to be as much as any neighborhoods should to have to tolerate on our day of rest.

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