Photo and Commentary by Chanel Robinson
The First Baptist Church in the beginning did not start out as a church, but as our first meetinghouse, for four years to be exact. The Churches first meetinghouse or vestry was first built in the year of 1801 as a pace of worship for Beverly’s small population of Baptists. The church first stood on a street then known as Wallace Street but its new location is on Cabot Street, one of Beverly’s main streets. Cabot Street, which is the street that contains everything from the police station, the Odd Fellows Hall, and the famous Cabot house, which was also the location for Beverly’s National Bank, which was built a year after the church. For the community, Beverly’s church with the Harbor light has made numerous contributions that have benefited society. A few things the church is known for today is for establishing its own men’s basketball team in 1934 and women’s in 1979, the building of the Anchorage house for young boys and for its many missions to other countries such as Haiti. But what this church is most famous for is its Harbor Light steeple. Today possibly the only steeple light remaining operational, the Harbor Light stands 133ft tall, is the guiding light seen for over fifteen miles away that has over the years brought ships safely into the harbor.
For 174 years the First Baptist Church stood not only as a symbol, but as a guiding light as well. It was in 1975 that tragedy struck this church when on August 26, 1975 the church was brought to an end due to a fire. The people’s, God’s house of worship was gone but by some miracle the steeple remained untouched. It seemed that it just wasn’t time for the Harbor light to burn out. But Beverly became faced with the problem of what would become of the churches remaining steeple. The people of Beverly wanted to preserve the historical landmark. It was two years after the fire that the new First Baptist Church was built including the Harbor Landmark. It was two years after the fire that the new First Baptist Church was built including the Harbor Light Steeple form the original church. "Anchor us in times of trouble, Make teachers of us everyday, Anad let our steeple stay a beacon, to all those who seek to know our way."