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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Grand Rapids in Kent County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church

 
 
Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By J.T. Lambrou, July 4, 2021
1. Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker
Inscription.  
Fountain Street Baptist Church
In 1869, the Reverends Nathan A. Reed and Isaac Butterfield merged their two churches into the Baptist Church of the City of Grand Rapids. The Reverend Dr. Samuel T. Graves served as pastor until 1885, when he left to lead the Atlanta Baptist Seminary, a school for African American men. The original church on this site, built between 1871 and 1877, became commonly known as Fountain Street Baptist Church in the 1880s and burned down in 1917. This Romanesque church, designed by the Chicago firm Coolidge and Hodgdon, was completed by 1924. In 1930 the church dedicated a room at the base of the tower to the Kent County soldiers who died in World War I. Interior renovations made during the 1950s and 1960s included a chapel designed by Alden B. Dow and a mezzanine.

Fountain Street Church
Led by the Reverends J. Herman Randall (1897-1906) and Alfred W. Wishart (1906-1933), Fountain Street Baptist Church encouraged diverse viewpoints and became increasingly liberal in its theology. As a result, in 1961 the Michigan Baptist Convention excluded the church
Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By J.T. Lambrou, July 4, 2021
2. Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker
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from membership. Guided by the Reverend Dr. Duncan E. Littlefair, the church adopted bylaws in 1969 that declared its denominational independence. The church has long served as a venue for controversial public dialogue, hosting such speakers as Winston Churchill in 1932, Eleanor Roosevelt in 1958 and Malcolm X in 1962. The congregation has funded social action grants, volunteered locally and supported the arts. Dave Brubeck, B. B. King and Ella Fitzgerald are among the musicians it has welcomed.
 
Erected 2019 by Michigan Historical Commission - Michigan History Center. (Marker Number L2323.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & Religion. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1869.
 
Location. 42° 57.925′ N, 85° 40.015′ W. Marker is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in Kent County. Marker is at the intersection of Fountain Street Northeast and Winchester Place Northeast, on the right when traveling east on Fountain Street Northeast. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 24 Fountain St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First (Park) Congregational Church (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Grand Rapids Veterans Memorial and Honor Roll
Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By J.T. Lambrou, July 4, 2021
3. Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker
Marker is in the center just left of the stairs
(about 600 feet away); Kent County Civil War Monument & Fountain (about 700 feet away); Paul Steketee & Sons (about 800 feet away); Roger B. Chaffee (about 800 feet away); St. Cecilia Music Society (approx. 0.2 miles away); McCabe-Marlowe House (approx. ¼ mile away); Ladies Literary Club (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grand Rapids.
 
Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By J.T. Lambrou, July 4, 2021
4. Fountain Street Baptist Church / Fountain Street Church Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 5, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. This page has been viewed 54 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 5, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Jan. 20, 2022