Community History – Ludlow – First Baptist Church

Ludlow’s First Baptist Church began in 1849, when the Baptist residents of the town held a meeting to organize the congregation. A lot on the eastside of Carneal Street (north of Elm) was donated by William Hay. On this site, a small frame church was constructed at the cost of $500.00 (this building still stands as a private residence). The cost of construction was financed with a generous gift from C.W. Scott.

In 1890, the congregation purchased a lot at the northwest corner of Linden and Kenner Streets. On this property, a new Romanesque Revival Church was constructed. The building was dedicated on October 25, 1891.

Difficulties in the congregation arose in 1912. The church was divided over the effectiveness of the pastor, William J. Holtzclaw. In June 1912, a group of discontented members met at the home of Lulu Ritchie and decided to establish a second Baptist congregation in Ludlow. Plans called for services to be held in the Wilma Theater. Peace, however, was restored within the Baptist community before the second congregation could be firmly established.

Post World War I population growth in Ludlow added many more members to First Baptist. In 1920 the congregation purchased a parsonage from Fannie Moffett for $5,500.00. A thorough remodeling of the church building began in 1927. Also at this time, a new two-story Sunday school building was constructed as an addition to the rear of the church. The $27,000.00 addition was dedicated on April 1, 1928.

Continued growth in the size of the congregation resulted in the construction of a new church. In 1952 and 1955, property located to the west of the original building was acquired. On this site construction began on a new church. The basement of this building was used for church services from 1958 to 1964. In January 1964, the 30’ steeple of the new structure was set into place. The main auditorium was dedicated on March 29, 1964 and has been used for church services ever since. Architect Don Cox of the firm Elliston, Hall, McAllister & Stockwell designed the building. At this time, the First Baptist congregation boasted a membership of 900, with an average Sunday school attendance of 450.

The need for more modern classrooms led to the construction of a new building in the 1980s. The new structure, on the west side of the church, contained classrooms and a multipurpose gymnasium/hall. The building was dedicated on May 22, 1988.

The most recent improvement made by the congregation was the construction of a parking lot on the south side of Linden Street. The congregation in 1995 and 1997 purchased two double frame homes. These buildings were demolished and the property was paved and landscaped.

Kentucky Post, June 6, 1912, p. 3, February 19, 1920, p. 1,December 6, 1999, p. 4k; Kentucky Times-Star, November 29, 1927, p. 3, March 24, 1928, p. 3; Ludlow-Bromley Ledger, June 1988, p. 10; News Enterprise, January 16, 1964, p.1 and March 26, 1964, p. 1.

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