On January 26, 1883, the Delaware Baptist Union was formally incorporated by the state legislature. The purpose of the organization was to spread the message of the denomination and promote “the erection and maintenance of houses of religious worship.” Soon thereafter a group of African-American residents of Dover who had accepted the Baptist faith began to hold meetings in private homes and a local store. In 1884 the Delaware Baptist Union purchased land at this location on which to build a permanent home for the congregation. The new church was officially dedicated on July 10, 1887. Known as Calvary Baptist Church, it was the second African-American Baptist church to be established in the state. The property was formally conveyed to the trustees of the church in 1924. After a long period of sporadic growth, the congregation experienced an unprecedented expansion in the 1980s under the leadership of Reverend Richard M. Avant. Having outgrown the old facility, a major construction project was undertaken. In 1983, land adjoining the church was provided by William T. and Iris O. Wilson, and Wilson A. and Betty M. Waters. The building was expanded to include a full basement, offices, choir room, and enlarged chapel. The project was completed in 1986. Today, Calvary Baptist Church continues to serve as a cultural and spiritual center for the residents of the greater Dover community.
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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Kevin Barni at (302) 744-5015 or via email at Kevin.Barni@state.de.us.
LOCATION: Dover, Queen and Fulton Streets