First Baptist Church of Galveston. The Rev. James Huckins, a visiting Baptist missionary agent, met with nine charter members in the home of Thomas Borden to organize a Baptist church in Galveston on January 30, 1840. Borden's brother Gail Borden, Jr., and sister-in-law Penelope Borden were baptized a few days later at the beach. James Huckins became the new church's first pastor. Only recently freed from the Mexican law requiring Texas immigrants to embrace Catholicism, many Galvestonians regarded the formation of new Protestant churches as cause for celebration. A log cabin sanctuary was erected on this site in 1847. At that time, the membership included many slaves. In 1855, several white businessmen purchased a lot for the black members to establish their own church, and Avenue L. Baptist Church was born. The property was formally deeded to Avenue L. Baptist Church after the Civil War. After serving fourteen years as deacon of First Baptist Church, Gail Borden, Jr., returned to his native New York. As a result of experiments begun while he was in Galveston, Borden obtained a patent for condensed milk in 1858. The congregation's second building, erected in 1883, featured seven steeples. It was destroyed in the 1900 storm, and the original log cabin sanctuary was crushed by the falling church building. A replacement building was constructed with heavy mortar walls and a dome, and was dedicated in 1905. It served for sixty years before being replaced by the fourth church structure. The First Baptist Church of Galveston celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1990. By the end of the 20th century the complex had expanded to cover an entire city block. (1998) #11888