Among the very early settlers of Fairburn, Georgia in old Campbell County, now Fulton, there were those who felt a need for a place to meet together and worship God. As a result, the Deep Creek Church was organized and built in 1829. The church was located about a mile and a half northwest of the present City of Fairburn (on Dodson Road, off Highway 92, Land Lot 90). The name “Deep Creek” Church was selected possibly because of the deep creek that is located near the area.
The church remained at its original location for approximately twenty years. On August 13, 1848, Mr. William McBride (whose wife named the City of Fairburn) made a gift of two acres of land to the Deep Creek Church. The deed describes the land as being “in the Ninth District of Fayette County, now Campbell County, known and distinguished by being a part of Lot #51; the said two acres to be bounded on the south side by joining the road running from Atlanta to Newnan (Highway 29) thence to be shaped in a square so as to include the elevated part of the hill where the Hameth Mayfield house formerly stood.”
In the latter part of 1848 or early 1849, the Deep Creek Church moved to its new location (now the Fairburn City Cemetery). The small frame church was located at the southeast corner of the property. Worshipers arrived in buggies and wagons and services were not disturbed as stage coaches rattled by on their way to the Irvin Place, the first stop from Atlanta. Soon after the church moved to Fairburn, the Atlanta and LaGrange Railroad began construction through Fairburn. Since the church was located in the area needed for the right-of-way, there followed an amicable exchange of property between the two parties on March 12, 1853, which resulted in the acquisition of the church’s present location, Malone at East Broad Street, Lot #52 of the Ninth District.
Again, a new church was built (circa 1853). According to information gathered from recorded memories of members, the church, a white frame building with green blinds, a tall tower and steeple, stood on a hill in an oak grove. Its beautiful toned bell was rung before each service to remind the community of the church hour.
All records of the church covering the period of 1853 to the close of the Civil War were either lost or not kept. On February 17, 1854, the town of Fairburn was incorporated and it was probably about this time that the name of the Deep Creek Church was changed. The first available records (1866) show the name of the church as being the Fairburn Baptist Church of Christ at Fairburn.
A Sunday School was organized on March 7, 1874. In February 1898, the Ladies Aid Society was organized and later merged into the Women’s Missionary Society in 1906.
As the church continued to grow in membership, a larger building became necessary and construction soon began. Some of the members made contributions to the building of the church by hauling rocks from the quarry. Others, young and old, gave freely of their labor and money. However, before construction was completed, both the funds and the money were exhausted. When it became known that there was no more money, only one man remained on the job. A passerby asked, “Didn’t you know the money has given out?” The man replied, “The man I work for never gives out!” He kept on working and soon others followed his example.
The beautiful impressive sanctuary with its stained glass windows was finally completed and dedicated
in 1898 while Rev. E.M. Hooten was pastor. The first new member was Mrs. Emmie Luck Glass who was also first to be baptized in the new indoor pool. Prior to the building of the new church, the pool was located outside, in a spring (at the edge of the Fairburn Cemetery). In cold weather, baptismal services often had to be postponed.
Soon after the new “rock” church (the fourth building since the organization of the Deep Creek Church) was built, the name of the church was changed from Fairburn Baptist Church of Christ at Fairburn to Fairburn Baptist Church.
In the early 1900’s many changes in the church became evident. Fewer discipline problems were recorded with more emphasis on organization. Sunday School classes were begun in 1912. The Barraca Class for men was taught by Mr. Paul Lattimer and the Philathea Class for women was taught by Mrs. Emmie Luck Glass. A place for the new classes to meet was needed and in the fall of 1928, a small wooden building was constructed at a cost of $602.95. At this time Sunday School attendance had grown from about 50 in 1874 to an average attendance of 147 in 1929. In 1939 a Sunday School Annex (now church offices) was constructed of Stone Mountain granite, at a cost of $4,000.
During the early years, church services were held only once or twice a month. On August 24, 1941, the church voted in conference to have church every Sunday.
The Sunday School addition was built in 1955 at a cost of $60,000.
A building committee was appointed in the spring of 1962 to recommend plans for a new sanctuary. Plans were presented to the church and adopted in the spring of 1963. In the fall of 1963, a new pastorium was purchased at 139 Valley View Drive. The old pastorium, built circa 1900, was demolished so that construction could begin on the new sanctuary.
fbcinterior.jpgConstruction began on the new sanctuary in March 1964 and was completed in March 1965 at a cost of $207,000 including the cost of the new pastorium. The beautiful new and modern edifice was completely air conditioned and centrally heated. The sound system included 12 directional speakers, 16 hearing aids and a public address system with microphones for the lectern, choir, and baptistery. The interior of the church was striking, furnished with gold carpet and matching cushioned pews. The pulpit furniture was made of Saplel wood imported from Africa. Music was supplied by a 20 rack pipe organ and a five foot two inch Knabe Grand piano.
The seating capacity of the church was about 645 including the balcony. The first worship service was held in the new church on May 16, 1965. Rev. Jack Wheeless was pastor at this time. Upon his recommendation, in April 1964 the name of the church was changed from Fairburn Baptist Church to First Baptist Church of Fairburn.
The new sanctuary was designed on the basis of the old building being torn down. In the summer of 1969, demolition began and many were saddened to see the old “rock” church torn away. The bell, which for many years had reminded the community of the worship hour, was saved and was made a part of the church sign at the corner of East Broad and Malone Streets.
A new Educational-Fellowship Hall was built at an estimated cost of $315,000. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on March 20, 1979.
The First Baptist Church voted in conference on October 8, 1986 to begin a building program. The first phase of the program included the renovation of the sanctuary which was accomplished at a cost of $150,000. The second phase of the “Together We Build” program included a covered drive-through and a paved driveway on the Malone Street entrance to the Sanctuary, as well as a paved parking lot. This was completed in June of 1989 at an approximate cost of $69,285.
The “Seale Property” was purchased on May 3, 1990 at a cost of $75,000. On March 13, 1991, surplus land at the corner of Senoia Road and Greene Street was purchased from the City of Fairburn for a cost of $3,500. The church now owns most of the block bordered by East Broad, Malone and Greene Streets, and Senoia Road.
At a called conference on September 22, 1996, the church voted to accept a recommendation from the Building Committee to build a new educational building, to include 11,500 square feet of space at a construction cost of $789,800; and to renovate the present educational building (red brick building) at a cost of $83,000.
There have been many in the past, as of now, who have served faithfully in different positions as deacons, teachers, and officers of various organizations in the church. Together with devout faith, members have promoted the cause of Christ down through the years by precept and example. In this brief history many names were omitted, for the list would have been indeed too long and perhaps some inadvertently passed unnoticed. However, a list of the ministers, as nearly correct as possible, follows:
1860-1875 John S. Dodd
1876-1877 W.J. Mitchell
1878 F.M. Daniel
1879-1880 G.W. Colquitt
1881-1882 W.A. Lane
1888-1890 Elam Culpepper
1891 W.H. Strickland
1892 G.W. Colquitt
1893 Spencer Harvey
1894-1901 E.M. Hooten
1902-1903 J.A. Edge
1904-1905 J.C. Solomon
1906-1911 R.H. Blalock
1912 Charles R. Lee
1913 P.A. Duncan
1914-1915 Bryan W. Collier
1915-1920 C. Lewis Fowler
1921-1924 J.D. Bradley
1925-1927 H.C. Hodges
1928-1934 J.W.R. Jenkins
1935-1941 L.D. Roberts
1941-1943 Fred H. Thomas
1943-1953 I.J. Cheeves
1953-1963 D. Auston Turner
1963-1972 Jack Wheeless
1973-1982 Raymond D. Johnson
1983-2002 Oscar T. Cope
2003-2008 Stephen E. Batts
2009-2015 Justin H. Terrell
From the heartfelt need to worship God on the part of a few dedicated people of the small Deep Creek Church, there has emerged what is now First Baptist Church of Fairburn, Georgia.