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Thu, 08.10.2023

The First Calvary Baptist Church of Norfolk, VA, Opens

*The First Calvary Baptist Church of Norfolk is celebrated on this date in 1915. This is a historic black Baptist church located in Norfolk, Virginia.

It is a four-story, 11-bay, brick church building in the Second Renaissance Revival style. The building features decorative terra cotta and a stained-glass dome. It has a two-tier, engaged entrance portico with fluted columns, Corinthian order capitals, and terra cotta entablatures. The building also has a three-stage bell tower. The church was designed by Mitchell & Willcox of Norfolk and dedicated in 1916. The congregation was organized in 1880 with only four members and eventually grew to more than fifteen hundred.

Under the leadership of Dr. Percy J. Wallace, pastor from 1908 to 1922, First Calvary became one of the most influential black churches in the country. Dr. Wallace was instrumental in building the new First Calvary Baptist Church and getting the debt paid in only two years, a remarkable accomplishment for a congregation composed not of the wealthy but of laborers, maids, cooks, laundry workers, and small shopkeepers. 

The National Register of Historic Places listed it in 1987.

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