The First Baptist Church, Greenpoint, was organized in 1847. At that time there "about thirteen Baptists living in Greenpoint", who organized a church with 9 members in the old Origen house on Franklin Avenue. "Rev. Mr. Jones and others supplied the pulpit" from 1847 to 1849. In 1849, the church erected a small structure at the corner of Leonard and Calyer Streets with a capacity of 100 worshippers. Mr. Peter Boyce officiated from 1851 to 1855, and was ordained in February of 1855. During this time, the first chaurch was enlarged. After a series of ministers, Rev. William Reid was appointed in September, 1861 and served until March 1867. It was under Reid's pastorate that the current structure on Noble Street was built.1
By 1862, membership had increased to 132, and the church purchased a 45'-wide lot at the intersection of Noble and Lorimer Streets. The cornerstone for the Noble Street church was laid on November 21, 1862.2 The church was dedicated on July 19, 18633 The church was described as brick, with a brownstone front, costing $13,000. At the time of the dedication, the membership was 168.4
With the move to Noble Street, the church was often referred to as the Noble Street Baptist Church, although officially it remained the First Baptist Church, Greeponpoint. The building was enlarged in 1865.
In 1869, the congregation split over doctrinal differences, and 40 members of the church left to form the Union Avenue Baptist Church. This congregation erected its own church on Union Avenue (now Manhattan Avenue). The pastor of Union Avenue Baptist at that time was Rev. David Charles Hughes, father of Charles Evan Hughes. The younger Hughes would become governor of New York and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1900, Union Avenue Baptist and First Baptist merged to form the Union Baptist Church of Brooklyn.5.
- 1. Henry R. Stiles, Civil, Political, Professional and Ecclesiastical History of the County of Kings and the City of Brooklyn from 1683 to 1884 (New York, N.Y., United States: W.W. Munsell, 1884), 1081.
- 2. "New Baptist Church", New York Times, November 22, 1862, 3.
- 3. "Church Dedication", Brooklyn Daily Eagle (July 18, 1863), 3.
- 4. “Dedication at Greenpoint,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 20, 1863, 3.
- 5. "Church Union Ratified", Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, N.Y., May 22, 1900), 2; Landmarks Preservation Commission, Greenpoint Historic District [Designaton Report] (New York, N.Y.: City of New York, 1982), 71
151 Noble Street