Lynchburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Court Street Baptist Church
Erected 1998 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number Q-18.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Churches & Religion. A significant historical year for this entry is 1843.
Location. 37° 24.992′ N, 79° 8.798′ W. Marker is in Lynchburg, Virginia. Marker is on Court Street south of 5th Street (Virginia Route 163), on the right when traveling south. (Until recently, 5th Street was U.S. Business Route 29.). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Lynchburg VA 24504, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Abram Frederick Biggers and Biggers School (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Latham's Battery (about 500 feet away); The Academy of Music (1905-1958) (about 700 feet away); Lynchburg History (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named Lynchburg History (about 800 feet away); Douglas Southall Freeman (about 800 feet away); Allen Weir Freeman, M.D. (about 800 feet away); John Daniel’s Home (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lynchburg.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . . 1982 National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Prepared by S. Allen Chambers. “Court Street Baptist Church is Lynchburg’s chief black architectural landmark. Begun in 1879 and completed in 1880, it was then the largest church edifice in the city, with its spire the tallest object on the downtown skyline. The church was designed by a local white architect, R. C. Burkholder, but black labor was used exclusively in its construction, and black artisans were in large part responsible for the decorations and furnishings of the auditorium. Although a number of nearby residents initially objected to the building of a black church on what was then one of Lynchburg’s most fashionable residential streets, as construction
“Behind the short notice that the lot was purchased by a [black] citizen lay another story, one amplified by a historical sketch published by the church in 1960: ‘At that time, Court Street was where the homes of the prominent and rich white residents lived, and during the days of slavery they wanted to keep the Negro slaves near them in their worship services in order to observe their loyalty. However, when Freedom came, they had no further interest in them, and they wanted to force the Negroes to move their worship place from the prominent Court Street residential section of the city. But, since Negroes had worshipped on that street since it was the center of the town, the colored congregation was just as determined to remain on Court Street with the Church.’
“When it was learned that the black congregation intended to purchase a lot near the site of the old building, the owner was offered a substantially larger amount by several whites to prevent the sale. This attempt failed, however, for the trustees had placed a deposit (Submitted on August 28, 2011.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 28, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 1,043 times since then and 13 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week September 4, 2011. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 28, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.