Historic Markers Across Florida

Second Missionary Baptist Church of LaVilla

Marker ID: FLHM F-919
Location: 954 Kings Road, Jacksonville, FL
County: Duval
Coordinates: N 30° 20.188    W 081° 40.093
  30.33646666    -81.66821666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMV5YC


Second Missionary
Baptist Church of LaVilla

The founders of Second Missionary Baptist Church worshipped at Bethel Baptist Church with their slaves masters in the 1830s. They built their first separate wooden sanctuary in 1848 in the African American neighborhood of LaVilla. The first sanctuary was destroyed by The Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901 that scoured more than 146 blocks and left nearly 9,000 people homeless. Church members worshipped at a new location and in 1930 built this brick sanctuary. Designed as a vernacular adaptation of the Late Gothic Revival Style, the sanctuary reflects the religious architectural form of the period with pitched gable roofs, massive towers framing the entrance, and ornate Gothic-arched stained glass windows. The church served as a refuge and source of strength during the racially segregated 19th and 20th centuries. Its members provided essential support for LaVilla businesses, schools, and the Brewster Hospital, the county's first African American hospital. Church services, educational activities, and charity drives helped meet the social, spiritual, and physical needs of the community. This sanctuary is a reminder of the significant role the church played in the LaVilla community.

A Florida Heritage Site
Reverend Kenneth J. and Sister Sheila F. Emanuel, Sr.,
and the Florida Department of State.