FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
Corner of Elm and Park Streets

Rev. Jeremiah Chaplin, the first president of Colby College, formed this church in 1818. Because it was illegal for a religious group to own property, an organization of pew holders was formed. By selling pews they raised money and the Meeting House was erected in 1826. It served the church, college, and city for large assemblies and union meetings. It is the oldest public building and was the first church to be built in Waterville.

The architecture is Late Victorian Classical Revival, and the church was added to the National Historic Register in 1976.

It was here that Samuel Francis Smith was ordained and preached from 1832 to 1842. While a student at Andover Theological Seminary, a friend asked him to translate a German poem for him. He liked the music (God Save the King) that had been set to that poem so much he wrote new English words and this became the national patriotic hymn, “America”. He also wrote the hymns “The Morning Light is Breaking” and “Rock of Ages”.

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