First Baptist Church was organized in 1843 in a room in the Courthouse on Gay Street, moving to the present location in 1924, in the heart of downtown, uphill from the Tennessee River and a mile from the University of Tennessee. Ground was broken in 1923, costing $600,000 and utilizing 150 workers. Dougherty and Gardner of Nashville were chosen to be architects, and Worsham Brothers of Knoxville was the general contractor. First Baptist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in March of 1997.
The building is a pleasant blend of ornate and simple. The church is Baroque Classic, an eclectic blend of English Renaissance and Romanesque architecture. Many exterior details resemble St. Martin-in-the-Field in Trafalgar Square, London. The portico is framed by an elaborate hand-carved frieze of garlands and cherubs, supported by six Corinthian Columns. The cross above the portico was uncommon for Baptist churches.
To read more about the design of the Sanctuary and other components of the First Baptist Church Campus, please click on this link [PDF].
The R.A. Colby Organbuilders Company has a section of their website with information about the organ at First Baptist Church. Read more about it here.
For a PDF map of the First Baptist Church Facilities, please click on this link.