EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.
HUNTINGTON -- Organized in 1872, Huntington's Fifth Avenue Baptist Church originally conducted services in various rented locales around the city, including Marshall College and an upstairs room over a 3rd Avenue saloon. In 1881, the congregation purchased for $270 a lot on the northwest corner of 5th Avenue and 10th Street and the following year constructed there a modest church building at a cost of $5,000.
History records the choice of a site for the new church building was not favored by all the congregation's members, some of whom felt it was "too far from the center of town." In the 1880s, the city's business section was largely confined to 2nd and 3rd avenues between 8th and 10th streets.
The congregation grew and in 1895 built a larger, more imposing church building on the site of the original one. But even the new building -- seen here in a vintage post card -- was inadequate to accommodate the thriving congregation and plans were soon afoot to build a new church elsewhere. In 1916, the Baptists sold their church to Col. J.H. Long, who demolished it and began construction of a building to house his newspaper, the Huntington Advertiser. (This was the same building that today houses The Herald-Dispatch).
The Baptists temporarily worshipped at Oley School, and then in 1919 moved into their current building at 5th Avenue and 12th Street.