First Baptist Church (Mount Olive Cathedral C.M.E. Church)

Status: Preserved

Address: 538 Linden Avenue, Memphis

Built: 1906-1907

Architectural Style: Classical Revival

Original Function/Purpose: Church

The First Baptist Church (Mount Olive) was placed on the National Register on Mar. 15, 2005.

History: First Baptist Church was built between 1906-1907 in the Classical Revival style, designed by the well-known architectural firm of R.H. Hunt & Company of Chattanooga, which specialized in the design of churches and public buildings. First Baptist Church is one of only 2 buildings in the city designed by architect Reuben H. Hunt’s firm, and is credited with introducing the Classical Revival style to the city of Memphis. The church’s design also established a model for Classical Revival and Colonial Revival architectural styles, especially among Protestant denominations in the area. The change in character of church design from Gothic to Classical and Colonial Revival was also reflective of the city’s Progressive Reform movement, based on the City Beautiful Movement and design principles gathered from the recent World’s Columbian Exposition. In 1951 First Baptist moved to a new church complex, selling the church building to Mount Olive Cathedral C.M.E. Church, which has flourished in the neighborhood and community since the purchase despite demographic and economic changes in the area. In 2018 the City of Memphis designated this property as a site on the Memphis Heritage Trail.

City Council District: 6

Super District: 8

County Commission District: 8

DON NEWMAN