Architect Unknown, 1902 improvements by Marion J. Dimmock; 1909 west annex by William C. West; 1928 east annex by Clarence H. Hinnant
1857 plus additions
1101 Bainbridge Street
This stalwart brick structure, set atop a rough-hewn granite retaining wall, possesses a dramatic temple front composed of three bays and four colossal Ionic columns. The exterior of the church complex is painted a shade of bright white that causes the building to glisten on sunny days. The antebellum sanctuary’s well-proportioned classicism is a surprising and welcome contrast to the plethora of boxy contemporary apartment structures that now characterize the building stock of the Manchester neighborhood.
Community-Bainbridge once housed the oldest white Baptist congregation in South Richmond. Established as a mission by Richmond’s Second Baptist Church, after meeting for a time at the Manchester Mason’s Hall, in 1857 the congregation built the raised basement level of the current main building. The membership later completed the sanctuary which is reached by ascending a broad and steep set of steps (on the outside and continuing through the vestibule). In spring 1865, during the last days of the Civil War, the building served as a make-shift hospital for Confederates.
The church’s handsome portico is more a melding of Colonial Revival and Beaux Arts influences than Greek Revival and probably dates to 1902 when Marion J. Dimmock,”the dean of Richmond architects” was engaged to make “improvements” to the building. Just seven years later the west church school annex was built by William C. West, another prominent local architect. In 1928, as the church’s membership swelled, the east wing was added; Clarence Henry Hinnant of Roanoke and Lynchburg was the architect.
Boasting 1,500 members during World War II, several other south side churches were spun off from Bainbridge Baptist over time. These included Clopton Street, Oak Grove and Webber Memorial Baptist churches. In 2004 the founding congregation dissolved as Manchester declined and the housing stock of the neighborhood was demolished. Today, the Community- Bainbridge Baptist Church conducts services, operates a school and is the steward of this Manchester landmark.