Historical Highlights of First Baptist Church


1818 Church organized by Rev. Jeremiah Chaplin, first president of Colby College in the farmhouse on the site later occupied by the Elmwood Hotel. Chaplin was the first pastor of this church as well as president of the college.

1820 Baptism of George Dana Boardman, first graduate of the college and this church's first foreign missionary .

1824 Organization of the First Baptist Society, a legal entity to hold property. The Society sold pews to finance the meetinghouse.

1826 Meetinghouse completed at a cost of less than $4,000 and fittingly dedicated. The main part of the building still rests on the original foundation.

1831 Church sponsored a new church at Ten Lots.

1834 Samuel Francis Smith, author of 'America', called to the pastorate.

1835 Beginning of work with the French Canadians that led to eventual formation of Second Baptist Church.

1836- 1904 Additions to the building, made at four separate times, culminating in the present vestries, classrooms, parlors, and dining facilities.

1844 Hanging of the church bell.

1855 First major alterations to the sanctuary saw removal of doors from pews, lowering of the high pulpit, and carpeting the floor.

1866 Acceptance into membership of Samuel Osborne, former Negro slave, on his own statement that he had been baptised and accepted into a church in Culpepper, Virginia, where the Civil War had destroyed all records.

1874 Vote to free the pews.

1875 Complete remodelling of the building, including new, modern pews. Services meanwhile were held in the Unitarian Church.

1879 Two consecutive pastorates that encompassed thirty-five years: William Spencer, 1879-1899; Edwin Whittemore 1899-1914.

1889 Installation of electric lighting.

1901 Incorporation of First Baptist Church of Waterville under new law permitting churches to hold property. This ended the distinction between 'Church' and 'Society'.

1903 College Librarian Edward W. Hall completed thirty years as church clerk.

1915 First session of United Baptist Convention of Maine held in this church.
1924 Installation of Purinton Organ
1951 Remodelling of the Sanctuary, central pulpit changed to lectern and pulpit on either side of the chancel, with alter in the center.
1960 Purinton Organ rebuilt and placed in balcony.
1965 Fiftieth session of the United Baptist Convention of Maine held in this church.
1969- 1972 Senior Citizens' Luncheon Program was held in this church and later moved to the Muskie Center.
1971- 1995 Park Street Nursery School housed here.
1971 Hosted American Baptist Women's Midwinter Conference.
1971 Secretary's office moved from 2nd story to first floor.
1973 Steeple Chiming Bells installed.
1976 Celebratioin of 150th Anniversary of First Baptist Church
1976 Building placed on National Registry of Historic Places
1984 Hosted ABC Maine State Convention. 
1992 Lenten organ concerts began being offered Wednesday at noon, during Lent.  (since 2011, these concerts are  held Sunday afternoon)
1992 Waterville Salvation Army used our basement area for a year while their building was being repaired.
1997 Park Street Children's Center established.
1997 Bathroom installed on first floor, off vestry.
1999 Major refurbishing of Philbrick Parlors.
2000 New state of the art boiler system installed.
2002 Purinton Organ undergone reconstruction.
2002 Handoll Mission Church using our facilities for their services.
2003 185th Anniversary of First Baptist Church.
2008 Community-wide celebration of the 200th anniversary of birth of Samuel Francis Smith, author/composer of AMERICA, pastor of Waterville First Baptist Church.
2009-2011 Nazarene Church of Oakland were holding their worship services in the “parlor”.
2010 Opened the lower level of the building, to accommodate the overflow of the of the Mid Maine Homeless Shelter. 


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