First Baptist Church
The First Baptist Church is among the oldest in North Adams. Although its tall steeples stand over the city, it was once only a small meeting house on the corner of Church and Main St. In 1782 a group of Baptist practitioners from Connecticut came to the North Village, in what is now North Adams, and built the first supports of what would be the meeting house of the First Baptist Church. This meeting house was located on Church St. across from the William Blackinton Mansion (now the North Adams Public Library). One of these practitioners was Elder Calvin Keys, who is credited as one of the founding members of the Baptist Church.
After the first steeple was built in 1808, the First Baptist Church was officially founded by Elder Keys and Otis Blackinton. Additions were made in 1844 and 1849, making this all-brick building one of the biggest and most recognizable churches in North Adams.
This church, however, was not to last as it caught fire in 1875. This was a devastating setback not only for Baptists living in North Adams, but for the city as a whole. Reconstruction began the next year and once rebuilt, the church continued to thrive.
In 1931 the third and current iteration of the First Baptist Church was completed. The spire is the tallest in North Adams (191 feet). To commemorate this accomplishment, and the church’s founding, a play was written about the founders called “A Candlestick in This Place.” It would be performed for the first time on October 30th, 1933. This play became a celebration of history and perseverance. It is still performed today on the anniversary of the church’s founding.