First Baptist Church-Sanctuary

First Baptist Church had its beginnings in 1840 as a mission of the First
Baptist Church of Nashville. It was organized as a church in 1852. The
first facility was built in 1853 on the site of the present county
courtbouse. It served as a hospital and chapel during the Civil War and was
left in near-ruin at the end of the war. What was left of the building was
sold to the newly-formed Central Baptist Church; it was put on logs and
rolled down to the SW corner of McCallie and Palmetto.

In 1888 the cornerstone was laid for their second building, a large
Romanesque building designed by reknowned local architect R. H. Hunt. The
pink sandstone church, at the corner of Georgia and Oak, featured a 140-foot
tall tower. The church was nearly destroyed by fire in 1894 and rebuilt to
the original plans. The 700-seat sanctuary featured beautiful frescoes.
President Theodore Roosevelt worshipped there during a visit in the city and
the funerals of Senator Estes Kefauver and opera star Grace Moore were held
there. The first organ in the building was a 2-manual by Reuben Midmer. It
was replaced in 1928 by a 3-manual Hillgreen, Lane.

Due to the discovery of structure problems because of the age of the
building, it was decided in the mid 60’s to build a completely new facility ten blocks
to the west in an area that was part of the Golden Gateway urban renewal
project. The one-ton bronze bell that had rung in each of the buildings was
moved to the tower of the new sanctuary. Consulting on the project was
reknowned church architect Harold Wagoner of Philadelphia. The result was
what is probably the most spectacular sanctuary in the city, a nave of
cathedral proportions with a length of over 200 feet and a 72-foot ceiling –
with nearly 4-5 seconds reverberation.

The Aeolian-Skinner organ is installed in stacked chambers to each side of
the tall and narrow central window. The Trompette-en-Chamade, Great 16′
Quintaton and Pedal 8′ Principal frame the bottom of the window. The organ
is too small for the vast nave and way under-scaled. However, the organ still
sounds glorious in the room and is arguably the most elegant-sounding organ
in the city. The prepared-for stops in the original specification are gradually
being added as funds come in. A. E. Schlueter of Atlanta rebuilt the console,
converting it to Peterson, in 2002. At that time, preparations were made in the
console for a 11-rank Antiphonal. The chimes from the Hillgreen, Lane in
the old sanctuary had been kidnapped and taken to Alabama when that organ
was removed. They were recently returned to the church and connected to the

Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co., Opus 1476, 1968, 3/52




16′ Quintaton 16′ Contra Viola 8′ Gedecktpommer
8′ Prinzipal 8′ Geigenprinzipal 8′ Silver Flute
8′ Bordun 8′ Rohrflote 8′ Flute Celeste
8′ Gemshorn 8′ Viola Pomposa 4′ Spitzprinzipal
4′ Oktav 8′ Viola Celeste 4′ Koppelflote
4′ Zauberflote 4′ Prestant 2′ Prinzipal
2′ Waldflote 4′ Flute Harmonique 1 1/3′ Nasat
II Sesquialtera 2′ Nachthorn 1′ Oktav
IV Mixtur II Carillon 8′ Krummhorn
IV Cymbel III-IV Plein Jeu Tremulant
Unison Off 16′ Contre Hautbois Sub
Chimes 8′ Trompette Unison Off
8′ Trompette-en-Chamade 8′ Hautbois 12 Super
8′ Vox Humana 16′ Trompette-en-Chamade
PEDAL 8′ Tuba prep 8′ Trompette-en-Chamade GT
32′ Resultant res 4′ Clarion 4′ Trompette-en-Chamade
16′ Kontrabass Tremulant 8′ Tuba SW
16′ Bordun Sub 8′ Trompette de Fete AN
16′ Quintaton GT Unison Off
16′ Contra Viola SW Super
16′ Gedeckt AN 8′ Trompette-en-Chamade GT
8′ Prinzipal
8′ Rohrbordun 12


8′ Viola SW 8′ Principal prep
4′ Choralbass 8′ Spire Flute prep
4′ Spillflote prep 8′ Flute Celeste prep
2′ Blockflote prep 4′ Nachthorn prep
III Mixtur 2′ Doublette prep
32′ Contre Basson 12 II Cornet prep
16′ Bombarde IV Mixtur prep
16′ Contre Hautbois SW
8′ Bombarde 12
8′ Krummhorn CH
4′ Krummhorn CH