Monday, May 18, 2020

Lost Churches

More time travel through the collections of the Kellenberger Room

First Baptist Church, northwest corner of Johnson and Metcalf streets, photographed c.1900. Built c. 1811-12 with the tower  added c. 1833, the building was replaced by the Baptists with a new church in a different location in 1848. The old church became the home of the African American St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church following the Civil War.  They replaced this building with a new church on the same site in 1910.

by John B. Green III

Continuing our time travel for the self-isolated and socially distanced, we examine photos of New Bern churches lost to time.  Either accidentally burned or in some cases demolished as the needs or tastes of their congregations changed, these fascinating buildings would be prized additions to our town today.

Tabernacle Baptist Church, northeast corner Broad and George streets, photo c. 1900. Designed by New Bern architect Herbert Woodley Simpson and completed in 1897, Tabernacle Baptist Church was enlarged in 1913 and unfortunately destroyed by fire on the evening of November 30, 1931. The congregation erected a brick building on the same site in 1943.

Centenary Methodist Church, 500 block New Street, south side, photographed c. 1901. Probably designed and erected by New Bern builder Hardy B. Lane, the church was completed by 1843. Originally designed in the Greek Revival style with a square tower topped by four corner spires, the structure was extensively remodeled in 1884 by architect J. Crawford Neilson and builder A.M. Carroll, both from Baltimore. The church was replaced by a new facility two blocks east in 1905.  The 1843 building was sold and served as a furniture warehouse until it was demolished in 1939.

Christian Church, 300 block Hancock Street, west side, photo c. 1914. Built between 1887 and 1889, the Christian Church was described at its dedication as:  The new church is a neat, attractive building.  It is 60 x 34 feet in size; the top of the steeple is 108 feet from the ground; the pitch of the ceiling is 21 feet; the walls, inside, are imitation stone; the ceiling overhead is of native woods, beautifully painted and finished with gilded trimmings; stained-glass windows; gallery in front end; very comfortable pews; handsome pulpit furniture; the room is heated by one of Mott's furnaces; well lighted at night by gas, one of I.P. Frinks' silvered corrugated glass reflectors being used, besides a gas-light on each side of the pulpit and two in the gallery.  The church was destroyed by fire on the evening of December 30, 1918 and replaced in 1926 at a new site on Broad Street.