First Baptist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

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First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church, 5 Magazine Street, Cambridge (Middlesex County, Massachusetts).jpg
First Baptist Church in 1967
First Baptist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is located in Massachusetts
First Baptist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
First Baptist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts) is located in the US
First Baptist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Location Magazine and River Streets
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°21′53.5″N 71°6′18″W / 42.364861°N 71.10500°W / 42.364861; -71.10500Coordinates: 42°21′53.5″N 71°6′18″W / 42.364861°N 71.10500°W / 42.364861; -71.10500
Built 1881
Architect Hartwell and Richardson
Architectural style Gothic
Part of Central Square Historic District (#90000128)
NRHP Reference #


Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 14, 1975
Designated CP March 2, 1990

The First Baptist Church is an historic American Baptist church at Magazine and River Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts within Central Square. In 1817 the church congregation was founded in the home of James Hovey.[2] In 1844 several members of First Baptist Church left to found nearby Old Cambridge Baptist Church. First Baptist Church's current Gothic building was constructed in 1881 to a design by Hartwell and Richardson.[3] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[1]


The First Baptist Church is set just south of the main intersection at the heart of Central Square, on a roughly trapezoidal lot bounded by River Street, Green Street, Magazine Street, and Franklin Street. The church building is roughly L-shaped, with its front facing north toward the square. The long main section of the building houses the sanctuary, and the rear section, extending a short way to the west, houses a parish hall, offices and other facilities of the church.[4]

The church is a tall single-story brick structure, with sandstone trim and decorative detailing in terra cotta, and has Gothic Revival styling. It has a gabled slate roof with a clerestory section near the top of the gable, with the rear section having a cross-gable roof. The slate is mainly gray-green, with bands of red. A tower rises at the northeast corner of the building, rising to an open belfry with lancet-arch windows at the third stage. Clock face sections with gabled tops interrupt the steeple, which is eight-sided, finished in slate.[4]

The church is the third to be built by the Baptist congregation, which acquired the property in 1819. The first two churches, built in 1819 and 1866, were both destroyed by fire.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ A brief history of the First Baptist Church in Cambridge: with the declaration of faith, the church covenant, and list of members (Printed by J. Ford & Son, 1870)
  3. ^ "NRHP nomination for Central Square Historic District (1990 nomination)". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  4. ^ a b c "HABS Data Sheet for First Baptist Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts" (PDF). Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 

External links[edit]