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The First Baptist Church of Hamburg
120 Main Street, Hamburg, New York

By Jack Edson and Joseph Streamer

(c) John R. Edson postcard collection

This important landmark in the Village of Hamburg was dedicated on July 1836.

The Baptist religious denomination is important to Hamburg history as the 1962 Hamburg Sesquicentennial book noted, "to the Baptist denomination goes the honor of having the first regularly organized church in Hamburg."

Excerpts from "Village of Hamburg Centennial book, 1874-1974" detail highlights of Baptist activities in Hamburg:

The First Baptist Church deserves to be preserved for many reasons

Besides its historic value, this church and parsonage are important for architectural reasons.

FRESH evaluation of the First Baptist Church:

The setting of the Church and the Parsonage are important for the Village of Hamburg.  The Church is now the building closest to the intersection of Main and Center Streets on the southeast corner.  In the past, the J. R. Rittman Carriage Works stood on that corner. 

Since the new Roundabout was constructed at this intersection, this location is extremely important for a public building that contributes to the quality of life in Hamburg.  This setting showcases this attractive, historic building that has many positive qualities as a community cornerstone.  Other communities would envy this picturesque feature.

The language of Historic Preservation would call the First Baptist Church "contributing" as it has an architectural presence and features that add to the streetscape and quality of life in the community.   Contrast the First Baptist Church with the gas station across Main Street for an example of a "non-contributing" building nearby. 

Opportunities for Creative Reuse

Church buildings are extremely important to a community and worthy of preservation and creative reuse if a congregation moves away.  Churches had central locations in communities and were frequently built on important sites.  They are important to religious people as places of worship, but useful for the entire community in many ways, for example, a church bell would toll the hours.  Churches are symbols of things that people value and it is important to keep these symbols in a community. 

Many churches are being sold throughout Western New York nowadays and they are being used for a wide variety of purposes.  Many small but growing congregations are purchasing old churches and Hamburg certainly has a wide variety of small religious denominations that have moved to our village.  Two WNY church buildings have been sold to Buddhists, and two churches are expected to be purchased by the Polish Catholic denomination.  One church was purchased to house a Religious Art Center and one in the south towns has been adapted as a Bed and Breakfast art center.

Creative reuse honors the original purpose of a building and brings fresh life to the community.

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