Historic Markers Across Florida

Historic John the Baptist Church

Marker ID: FLHM F-692
Location: 101 North 10th Avenue, Pensacola, FL
County: Escambia
Coordinates: N 30° 24.938    W 087° 12.241
  30.41563333    -87.20401666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMKCRP


This is the site of John the Baptist Church, one of the oldest Baptist Churches in Pensacola. In 1846 the First Baptist Colored Church of Pensacola, known today as Historic John the Baptist Church, was organized in the Seville Square community. The church served black and white Baptists until the Civil War (1861-1865). Retreating and invading armies threatened to burn Pensacola, causing all residents except 72 white and 10 black people to relocate to Alabama. During the war, African-American Baptists kept this, the only Protestant church in Pensacola open. After the war, a dispute arose between black and white Baptists regarding the church property. In 1866, black Baptists wrote a letter to the Freedmen's Bureau explaining that the black Baptists purchased the property and “upon it erected a place of worship." The letter also explained that the property had always been in use of the congregation and that since the war others claimed control of it. In 1870, the black congregations relocated, under the leadership of Rev. Robert Ahrens (c. 1833-1925), to this site in the Hawkshaw community. The Seville Square church housed a Freedmen's Bureau school and the church at Hawkshaw housed a school for children and adults.

Erected 2010 by the Congregation of the Historic John the Baptist Church
and the Florida Department of State