The First Baptist church was formed when part of the congregation of the Lyons Farms Baptist Church split on June 6, 1801. Permission to form this new church was granted by the Lyons Farms Baptist Church on July 24, 1800. Their first ceremony, on the day of the organization, was the baptismal of Joseph Smith, Abigail Hobdey, Reuben Kellum and Jemime Bruen, performed in the Passaic River. Services were held in an old private schoolhouse, "White School House", on the corner of Clinton Ave. and Spruce St. until 1805. (Many years later, long after the church moved, this building was burnt down by a vandal). In that year the church purchased the lot at the corner of Academy and Halsey streets measuring 87 x 100 feet for the purpose of building a "meeting house and burial ground".
The church building was erected in 1806 and dedicated on September 16, 1806. The building was enlarged in 1810, improved in 1841 with the addition of a vestibule and a Sunday school room. A new church was built and it was dedicated on May 23, 1869. This building was abandoned around the turn of the century and was used by the United States Post Office for a time.
The present structure was built in 1890 by a monetary gift from a Newark Merchant, T. B. Peddie. The interior of the church is round with the pews set in theatre style seating. The balcony goes around the entire church with seating in the three quarters in front of the alter. Each window on the lower floor is made of Tiffany glass. Griffins are present on the ends of the balcony. They once held a gas line that lit the interior of the church. Originally a statue of St. Peter stood on the roof but it was struck by lightning and never replaced.
From: Rider's Newark 1916
On the southeast corner of Broad and Fulton Streets is the handsome modern First Baptist Peddie Memorial Church, a massive brown stone structure, in the romanesque order, with a dome-life roof.
This is by lineal descent the successor of the First Baptist Church of Newark, organized 1801. The present edifice was erected through the generosity of Mr. T. B. Peddie, a Newark merchant and one time Mayor of the city, the cornerstone being laid in 1888.
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