First Baptist Church

Dublin Core


First Baptist Church


The First Baptist Church of North Tonawanda is built in 1888 at 190 Vandervoort Street. On May 30, 1965 the congregation commences worship at their expansive new 530 Meadow Drive location. The Vandervoort building is now operated as the "Chapel Vandervoort," a wedding and event facility.

The founding of the First Baptist Church, and its activities before 1888, are described in its 1985 newsletter:
Early in 1885, while supplying the pulpit at the First Presbyterian Church in Tonawanda, Martin W. Twing, then a seminary student at Rochester, became concerned about those with Baptist Convictions who were attending other churches. At that time the Tonawandas were fast becoming the largest lumber center in the country, and many families were moving into the area. Mr. Twing began visiting those who were known to be Baptists.

As a Result of the prelimanary work done by Mr. Twing, two baptist pastors from Buffalo, Dr. John Gordon of Washington Street Baptist Church and Rev George Whitman of Cedar Street Baptist Church, came to the Tonawandas in April to further survey the area.The afternoon was spent in calling, and that evening a prayer meeting was held in the home of Mr. Peter Hittel. A decision was made to begin meetings, and Good Templar's Hall on the third floor over the State Bank and Cramer's Hardware on Webster Street [was selected as the site]. Mr. McCutcheon, a seminary student from Rochester, preached the first sermon, followed on subsequent Sundays by Mr. Munger and Mr. James Grant, also from Rochester.

Enough interest was shown to rent the hall and continue services for the summer with Mr. James Grant acting as minister until seminary resumed in the fall. Mr. Grant was zealous in his ministry, and attendance grew from twenty-five to seventy-five on some sundays. After much prayer, this small company of believers determined it was God's will that an English-speaking Baptist church be established in North Tonawanda.

Thus, on September 6, 1885, a meeting was called for the purpose of organizing First Baptist Church. There were eighteen Charter members. The Articles of Faith and Church Covenant, as used by the Cranston Street Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island, were adopted.On December 1, 1885, delegated from several Baptist churches gathered to examine and recognized the new assembly as a regular Baptist Church. Appropriately, Martin W. Twing was called as the first pastor of First Baptist Church.In summary, a very evident need for a gospel testimony in the community, the burden of one man who inspired others, an area survey, and much prayer all played a vital part in the birth of First Baptist Church one hundred twenty years ago.