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The Gainsboro History Project

Hill Street Baptist Church

Church History

Tracing its roots back to 1892, the Hill Street Baptist Church congregation has worshiped under several names and at several locations in Gainsboro. The church is currently found at 111 Madison Avenue.

Early Years

The congregation formed in 1892, meeting in a building on Park Street, and thus originally known as Park Street Baptist Church. There were five founding members, but only three of their identities are known. Mrs. Bertha Hughes, Mr. Charlie Tyler, and Mr. Robert Bailey recruited Rev. M.L. Minter to serve their small congregation for three years. Following his leadership was Rev. William Greene, who was pastor from 1895-1896.

In 1896 Rev. R. R. Henry assumed the role of pastor. Under his direction, a new church was built at McDowell and Peach Road, NW, and its name was changed to Hill Street Baptist. Subsequent pastors were Rev. Mosses E. Johnson and Rev. J. Y. King.

Rev. David R. Powell began his 38-year tenure as pastor in 1917. Under his leadership the church was remodeled, to include stained glass windows and a permastone exterior. The congregation numbered around 500 during this period. Next, Rev. Thomas E. Crews filled in as an interim pastor, followed by Rev. Robert Johnson Smith, formerly of High Street Baptist, for a year.

Photo of the wooden Hill Street Baptist and its congregation out front in 1933
Hill Street Baptist Church, 1933. Courtesy of Roanoke Public Libraries.

Rev. Raymond Wilkinson and Urban Renewal

In 1958 Rev. Raymond R. Wilkinson became pastor of Hill Street Baptist, and church membership grew under his leadership. A parsonage was also purchased in this period.

In the mid-1970s Hill Street Baptist Church was purchased by the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority as part of urban renewal efforts. The building was demolished in March 1978.

For several years the congregation held church services at Lucy Addison Junior High School. Rev. Wilkinson worked to see a new church building constructed in the Gainsboro neighborhood. On March 1, 1981, the congregation marched from Lucy Addison to the new church erected at Madison Avenue and Gainsboro Road.

Rev. Wilkinson resigned in 1991, and Rev. Perry W. Medley next filled the pastoral role. In 1995 Rev. Dr. Johnny R. Stone was called to serve the church.

See Also


Hill Street Baptist Church celebrates 100th anniversary. (1992, September 17). Roanoke Tribune.

History of the church – Hill Street Baptist Church. (n.d.). Hill Street Baptist Church. Retrieved, February 8, 2022 from