Hillsborough Baptist Church
Original building: 2807 Main Street, Hillsborough, NB
In 1822, Henry Steeves founded the Hillsborough Baptist Church in partnership with Rev. Joseph Crandall. The first Meeting House in Hillsborough was occupied jointly by Methodists and Baptists. This building was later sold and moved. A new meeting house was built by the Baptist congregation and the first service was held on October 20, 1838. This building was in use for 30 years, after which it was sold and moved across the street for use as a storefront.
A new structure was built (46’ x 76’), during which time the congregation worshipped in a nearby hall. The vestry was completed first in 1870 and was used for services until the auditorium was finished. In 1874, the church was dedicated.
Sometime in 1900, the church caught fire near the pulpit. The fire was discovered in time to save the church but not before considerable damage was done. During the repairs, the church building was extended to make room for a pipe organ and the space under this was made into a classroom. In 1902, a new vestry was attached to the main building and the Sunday School moved into that area. In 1908 a new pipe organ and baptistry were added.
On June 13, 1910, the church and parsonage burned to the ground. The cost of the new church (which still stands) was $15,575. An additional $10,000 was spent to furnish the church with seats, organ, heating system, etc. bringing the total cost to $25,000. There were several special donations – pulpit chairs, art glass for the windows, steam heating plant, the bell, the pulpit and communion table, the Vestry Chairs and bookcases.
The vestry was first opened March 17, 1912, and until the auditorium was ready for use, was used for all services. The church was dedicated on Sunday June 5, 1912.
On May 18, 1941, funds were donated to install electric lights in the church. Sometime after 1948, a new classroom was built, and the church was redecorated by the Ladies Sewing Circle and Ladies Guild. In 1962, the church building was rewired, and new light fixtures installed. In 1965, the church auditorium was repainted, the burlap wainscotting replaced by grain board, the vestry curtains were removed, the walls partly partitioned off, and sliding Akron-style doors installed. Complete double lavatories were installed in the basement.
During 1977 and 1978, many repairs and renovations were done to the church. A youth room was constructed in the basement. The main auditorium and entranceway were carpeted, the auditorium repainted, and a new Hammond Organ purchased. The south side of the church was covered with vinyl siding in order to reduce the cost of painting in the future. The boiler was also overhauled.
In 2011, the congregation decided it had outgrown its current building and the church was sold. The building changed hands a few times and is now owned by baker Oliver Hofer. Several other businesses also rent space in the building. Owner Oliver Hofer is keen to preserve the history and character of the space as it finds new life as a business centre.
A larger, more modern church was constructed between 2011-2013. The pipe organ was moved from the original building and installed in the new church as a decorative element in the foyer.