History of First Baptist Church
In 1864 First Baptist Church began meeting within the city limits of Kankakee and services were led by Elder Freeman. They were located under the shade of a Basswood Tree near the building formerly known as the Van Meter Hotel on the banks of Soldier Creek.
Regular church services were led by Rev. William Sims in 1856. Two years later in 1858 organized church services were then led by Rev. James Reed and the first church Covenant was adopted.
1859 brought a new pastor, Rev Kennedy and the first baptism was performed of Mrs. H.G. Koon.
The church moved to a different location which was located at the N.E. corner of Station St and East Ave. in the Commercial Hotel, Kankakee services were led by Rev John Higby (1860-1863).
The Rev. Dodge became pastor in 1863 and the church purchased two corner lots located the intersection of Indiana Ave and Court St. for 1,000.00. Worship services at that time were held in a school which later became the Cloth Button Factory. During this time the church was organized and designated the name "First Baptist Society of Kankakee City. Subscriptions were received in the amount of 3,000.00 to build a permanent church building. The corner stone was laid in 1864 and members of the congregation went to the quarry to cut and carry limestone blocks back to their permanent address known as 425 East Court Street, Kankakee, IL. The church was completed in 1866 and ten years later in 1877 the debt for the building was paid in full.
Mrs. Buchard donated a beautiful pipe organ to the church in 1889 and 1908 the congregation celebrated their 50th Anniversary as an established church.
1944 the mortgage of the church was burnt and in 1958 the church celebrated their 100th Anniversary.
Some forty years later in 1980 the congregation adopted a resolution to amend the church name and we became known as "First Baptist Church of Kankakee".
In 2003 the congregation voted and the decision was made to sell the old church building and rebuild the church at a new location.
From 2003 to 2008 the church held services in a variety of different locations until the new church location was finalized and built.
We dedicated the new building and also celebrated 150 years in serving our community.
First Baptist Church of Kankakee is now located at 1756 W Route 113, Kankakee, IL.