First Baptist Church (Bakersfield, California)

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First Baptist Church
2009-0726-CA-Bakersfield-1stBaptist.jpg
First Baptist Church (Bakersfield, California) is located in California
First Baptist Church (Bakersfield, California)
Location 1200 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, California
Coordinates 35°22′26″N 119°0′54″W / 35.37389°N 119.01500°W / 35.37389; -119.01500Coordinates: 35°22′26″N 119°0′54″W / 35.37389°N 119.01500°W / 35.37389; -119.01500
Area 0.8 acres (0.32 ha)
Built 1931
Architect Biggar, Charles H., et al.
Architectural style Mission/Spanish Revival, Romanesque
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference #

79000478

[1]
Added to NRHP January 02, 1979

The First Baptist Church, also known as the Bell Towers, is a historic church complex presently used as an office building in Bakersfield, California. The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on January 2, 1979.

Structure[edit]

Constructed in 1931, the structure was built of reinforced concrete, with the outside finish, simulating brick, created by a poured cast. Red, Spanish tile shingles cover the roof. A prominent, 70 foot (21 meter) bell tower stands in the center of the south facade, forming part of what was the vestibule and narthex of the church. The south side of the church also features large white oak doors with decorative arches above them. Blind arches and mullions rise to the roof level, giving the structure its Romaneque character. A single story arcade joins the wings of the building and surrounds a landscaped courtyard.[2]

The southwest side of the complex is the original fellowship hall, built in a Mission Revival style. The structure is characterized by lofty arched windows on its west side; on its south side is a large arched window, originally a door, flanked by smaller arched windows. The old fellowship hall and church are connected by a two-story connecting building that continues the overall Mission Revival appearance.[2]

Significance[edit]

Located on a prominent spot in downtown Bakersfield, the First Baptist Church structure is considered one of the finest examples of a decorative concrete structure in the San Joaquin Valley and is a prominent landmark in Bakersfield. It is the only religious structure of its era to survive the 1952 Kern County earthquake that destroyed many of downtown Bakerfield's historic structures. It is also one of the few buildings in the area to remain relatively unaltered over the ensuing years.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c Chris Brewer, Historic Resources Inventory, State of California -- The Resources Agency, Department of Parks and Recreation, May 10, 1984; copy accessed from City of Bakersfield Cultural Resources Survey Downtown Area, located in the Local History room of the Beale Memorial Library, Bakersfield, California.