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Church History 

1818 Providence Knob Church. Warren County. the mother church of the early Baptist churches in Warren County, dismissed Pastor John Keel to organize a church in Bowling Green. The church established eventually became known as the Baptist Church of Bowling Green” and later as the “First Baptist Church of Bowling Green." This is the mother church of State Street Baptist Church.

1835 The House Committee of the Baptist Church of Bowling Green, was charged to see to a request from the "Colored friends" to use the meeting house for prayer meetings on Wednesday nights.

1844 A one-quarter acre lot was purchased by the Baptist Church of Bowling Green. John Burnam, a deacon of the Baptist Church of Bowling Green was named as the Trustee for the “African Baptist Church."- The original name for, what would become State Street Baptist Church. This lot located on what is now known as “Short Street” became the site of the first church building. The Pastor of the congregation was the Reverend Nelson Loving.


1867 The African Baptist Church, having expressed its desire to have the title to the lot on which the church building stood, saw its desire fulfilled. John Burnam, on the 22nd of August, conveyed the title to the trustees of the African Baptist Church. In this same year.

l868 The Reverend John F. Thomas became the Pastor of the congregation.

1872 On the 16th of January, during the administration of the Reverend Thomas, the congregation purchased from General George D. Blakey the property of the present, Fourth Avenue and State Street, site of the church for the sum of one thousand dollars. The congregation had also changed the name of the church to “First Colored Missionary Baptist Church."

1873 The first church building on this site was erected, the bricks molded by members of the congregation at a brickyard owned by the church. The Rev. Thomas also chaired a committee that in June 1873 went before the Bowling Green Board of Commissioners to present a plan to raise funds to finance free public schools for African American children.

1877 Rev. George Dupee, the founder of at least twenty-one churches in Western Kentucky, served as Pastor until 1878.

1878 From 1878 to 1885, the congregation was served by eight pastors. During the ministry of the Reverend Eugene Evans (1884-1885) the church’s name was again changed to “State Street Baptist Church."

1898 A fire broke out in the church building, gutting the structure. leaving only the walls of the building standing.

1899 By 1899. a new, larger structure was going up; by 1901, the new structure was completed, and the congregation was able to worship within its walls.

1948 The Rev. J. E. Jones called to be Pastor of State Street. During his years of service, plans were laid for the construction of an educational building.

1964 The Rev. Jones became the first African American professor at Western Kentucky University.

1967 The Rev. Henry Wise Jones succeeded the Rev. J.E. Jones as Pastor. During his term of service, properties were purchased upon which an educational building could be constructed.

1972 The Rev. Billie Ray Hollins was called to serve as the Pastor. During his term of service, the educational building was constructed and dedicated as the Cora E. Barlow Christian Activity Complex.

2000 With the new century came new challenges, not the least of which was a fire. On May 4, 2000, while workmen were putting the finishing touches on the project of putting a new roof on the church building, a workman’s torch ignited some flammable materials destroying the roof and ruining the interior of the sanctuary. However, the fire was a blessing in disguise: some of the beams that supported the sanctuary were in danger of collapsing. The near century old electrical wiring posed the threat of fire. The rebuilt structure included putting in a finished basement, the construction of classrooms, and the installation of up-to-date heating and air conditioning units.

2003 The congregation was able to move back into the church to hold services.

2007 Between 2007 and 2013 five persons were licensed and subsequently ordained to the Ministry of the Gospel: three of whom were women, being among the first women to be ordained by African American Baptist churches in Kentucky


Rev. Kortney Warren Pastor

340 State Street Bowling Green



Prepared by John E. Long for the 180th Anniversary of the Church

© John E Long 2018 all rights reserved

State Street Anniversary video

State Street Anniversary video

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