First Baptist Church (Columbus, Indiana)

Coordinates: 39°14′1″N 85°52′20″W / 39.23361°N 85.87222°W / 39.23361; -85.87222
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First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church, Columbus, Indiana
First Baptist Church (Columbus, Indiana) is located in Bartholomew County, Indiana
First Baptist Church (Columbus, Indiana)
First Baptist Church (Columbus, Indiana) is located in Indiana
First Baptist Church (Columbus, Indiana)
First Baptist Church (Columbus, Indiana) is located in the United States
First Baptist Church (Columbus, Indiana)
Location3300 Fairlawn Dr., Columbus, Indiana
Coordinates39°14′1″N 85°52′20″W / 39.23361°N 85.87222°W / 39.23361; -85.87222
ArchitectHarry Weese
Architectural styleModern
MPSModernism in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, and Art in Bartholomew County, 1942-1965 MPS
NRHP reference No.00000707 [1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPMay 16, 2000
Designated NHLMay 16, 2000[2]

The First Baptist Church is one of six National Historic Landmarks in Columbus, Indiana, United States. It was designed by distinguished architect Harry Weese; construction was completed in 1965.[3] Since completion, few alterations have been made and the building has retained its integrity. It was one of the first church designs to integrate Modern movement architecture and a non-traditional church plan.[3]


The First Baptist Church of Columbus is located at 3300 Fairlawn Drive in Columbus, Indiana. It occupies one-third of an open area in a suburban neighborhood of single-family homes developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Richards Elementary School (designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes and built in 1965) and Par 3 Golf Course and Clubhouse (designed by Bruce Adams and built in 1972) comprise the other two-thirds of the "town square". These structures are easily visible as they create the skyline of this residential subdivision.


First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church in the mid-1960s

The First Baptist Church was one of Columbus's early congregations. It occupied a previous site (which has not been preserved) before moving to Fairlawn Drive in 1965. The facility occupies a 7.1-acre (2.9 ha) site at the base of a gently sloping hill which the group chose because the site allowed room for growth and parking. The parcel originally contained a row of walnut trees along its southern boundary, however other trees have been planted on the grounds.

The red brick building has five distinct sections (narthex, sanctuary, office wing, fellowship hall, and chapel) built around a central courtyard. The windows are tall and narrow.

The sanctuary is the principal interior space of the building. It is a windowless room, made up of simple elements that combine to create a space that is at the same time dramatic and serene. Each element is a simple object—a brick wall, a beam, an opening, a skylight—but all exaggerated slightly in size, proportion, or height.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "First Baptist Church (Columbus)". National Historic Landmarks Program. National Park Service. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Thayer, Laura. "National Historic Landmark Nomination: First Baptist Church". National Park Service. and Accompanying seven photos from 1999

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