This Neoclassical style church is attributed to Josiah Walker, a local African-American architect. Built in 1917-20, it is regarded as one of only a few surviving structures of Wichita's earlier African-American community. It features a large east facade portico with four columns featuring Doric capitals. Also, note the continuous stonecoped parapet and decorative brickwork between the central bays and the raised brickwork at the basement level. The interior contains skylights, a unique "Akron plan" sanctuary and stained glass believed to be imported from Germany. The church currently houses the First National Black Historical Society of Kansas.

The following was taken from the NATIONAL REGISTER INFORMATION SYSTEM of the National Park Service.

"The Calvary Baptist Church is one of the three last significant physical remnants of

Wichita's historic black settlement. Josiah Walker, a black plasterer and architect, probably

designed the building, which is an exemplary work of Neoclassical Revival architecture.

The first black settlers in Wichita, freed slaves relocating to the Great Plains from the

Civil War-torn South, called themselves "Exodusters." By 1880 almost two dozen black families

had settled in the vicinity of North Main Street, primarily in the 500 block, the first area of black

residential and business concentration. This area thus became the primary location of cultural,

social, business, and religious activities for Wichita's black community, with Calvary Baptist

Church as the nucleus. During the years 1917-38, Calvary Baptist Church provided services to

the black community of Wichita through sponsorship of a number of organizations within the

congregation. The church became nationally known through its pastor, the Reverend S. B. Butler,

who was treasurer of the National Baptist Sunday School and the Baptist Young Peoples' Union

Congress. Presently Calvary Baptist serves as a source of pride for Wichita's black community."

[CA 10/28/88, 88001905]

National Register Nomination: