Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misspelled architect Willis Denny's name.
the eWant to buy a historic church on a celebrated site in downtown Augusta for $180,000?
The former First Baptist Church on Greene Street is for sale, according to Historic Augusta’s Web site. The group is working with property owner the Rev. Ron Drawdy to find a “preservation-minded” buyer who will fix up and save the landmark building.
The 1902 structure was designed by architect Willis F. Denny and is noted as a fine example of the Beaux-Arts style. It replaced an older Baptist church at the corner of Greene and Eighth streets from the early 1800s.
A state historical marker celebrates the location as the founding site of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845.
The current First Baptist Church of Augusta congregation moved to facilities on Walton Way Extension in 1975, and a number of congregations and even a Bible seminary have since used the Greene Street building.
The property for sale – almost half an acre – features a massive formal sanctuary space dominated by a large central dome, according to Historic Augusta. Original character-defining features in the sanctuary include plaster walls and ceiling, large windows and original doors.
Behind the main sanctuary space is a two-story addition with a large fellowship hall and individual rooms for offices, classrooms and storage.
There are challenges, Historic Augusta acknowledges.
“The property will need significant rehabilitation depending on the purchaser’s end use,” it says on its Web site. “The property could be used as a church, community center, performing arts center, commercial office space, or creatively adapted for income-producing residential housing.”
The building has had its problems. Last November, it was condemned for occupancy after a routine inspection revealed chunks
of plaster falling from the ceiling, according to The Chronicle’s archives.
The owner has authorized Historic Augusta to show the building to interested parties.