What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

The History of the First Baptist Church in Brookville: "More than a Building"

By Eric Carlson

The First Baptist Church is located on the corner of Main Street and Franklin Avenue at 101 Main Street in Brookville. The church has a history dating back to 1884 when the first church was built but the Baptists were meeting in Brookville even without an official church building. In 1854, they were meeting in the courthouse.

A church is not just a building; people are the church. Some of the early people involved in the church include James Craig who was the first person to receive communion from the early Baptist Church in 1834. The first convert in the Brookville First Baptist Church was Miss Jane Craig who was baptized by Rev. Samuel Miles in 1838. The baptisms were held where the Northfork and Sandy Lick met in the channel below the water wheel that led the water way of a mill dam owned by R.P. Barr.

Rev. John S. Wrightnour organized the first Sunday school ever held in Brookville. It took place on Sunday afternoon and at one time there were 250 people attending. The Rev. Wrightnour established a church in Kirkman in 1873 in addition to the Main Street location.

The street level portion of the church remained unchanged until 1871 when the sanctuary and the front of the church were remodeled. Instead of the two doors at either end of the building, a set of doors was placed in the center. Another change in the life of the church was that the Kirkman Chapel became an independent church.

In 1984, the congregation decided to make renovations to the outward appearance of the church to match the Historic Brookville theme. New siding and a historic color scheme gave the church a new look.

Later in the 1980s a major disaster occurred in the history of the church. On July 19, 1986, the church was struck by lightning, caught fire and was destroyed by the flames.

The congregation was devastated but determined to rebuild. The new church had to be built of brick to comply with the borough's building codes. On March 13, 1988, ground was broken for the new church at the original site. The construction was completed in approximately nine months and the first worship service was held there on Christmas Eve, 1988.

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