Union Avenue Baptist Church was organized in 1869 by 40 members of the First Baptist Church of Greenpoint on Noble Street. The congregation constructed a frame church on Union (now Manhattan) Avenue, which was dedicated in February or March of 1870.1 On May 14, 1881 the congregation dedicated a new church next door to their old church, with the old church in turn being converted to a Sunday School. The new structure, designed by a "well-known church architect", had two steeples, on e 65' tall and the second 90' tall. The brick structure had Italian tile trim and terra-cotta decoration at the two entrances.2 The "well-known church architect" referenced by the Times was Lawrence Valk, indeed, a prominent church architect3 .
Rev. U. B. Guiscard was the first pastor of the Union Avenue Baptist Church, installed on November 3, 1870.4 Rev. David Charles Hughes became the pastor of Union Avenue Baptist Church in October, 18745 . Rev. Hughes was the father of Charles Evans Hughes, governor of New York in the early 1900s and later Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. Hughes resigned abruptly in March, 18846 , and was succeeded by Rev. Folwell, formerly of Waterbury, Conn. in June of 1884.7
In 1900, Union Avenue Baptist Church reunited with First Baptist Church of Greenpoint to form Union Baptist Church. The congregation continues to be located in the original First Baptist Church on Noble Street. By 1898, the former Sunday School was occupied by the Greenpoint Y.M.C.A. and sometime between 1904 and 1912 the church on Manhattan Avenue was home to the Garden Theatre. By 1916, the Sunday School had been demolished and replaced by a three-story building used by the U.S. Postal Service (the YMCA having built its own facility at Meserole Avenue and Lorimer Street. Ironically, the best historical image of the church is this 1929 photo, when it was the Garden Theater.
- 1"New Baptist Church at Greenpoint," Brooklyn Daily Eagle (February 3, 1870), 4.
- 2"A New Baptist Church," New York Times, April 25, 1881, 8.
- 3"Buildings Projected: Kings County, N.Y.", Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, v. 26, no. 644 (July 17, 1880), 663.
- 4“Installation of Rev. U. R. Guiscard at the Union-Avenue Baptist Church, Greenpoint.,” New York Times, November 4, 1870, 10.
- 5"A New Baptist Church," New York Times, April 25, 1881, 8.
- 6“D. C. Hughes,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 17, 1884, 4.
- 7“A Pastoral Call Accepted,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 30, 1884, 2.
740 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222