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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: John McGrain, 1968
Mettam Memorial Baptist Church
Inventory No.: BA-36
Date Listed: 4/24/1975
Location: Old Court Road (MD 133), Pikesville, Baltimore County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1835
Description: The Mettam Memorial Baptist Church, a simple vernacular ecclesiastical building, is a 1 1/2-story gable-front stone structure measuring 3'0 x 40'. The lime and sand mortar was patched with cement in 1965-1966 during a renovation of the property by the Pikesville Lion's Club. The church is three bays long and three bays wide. The principal entrance door, located on the central bay of the north facade, is recessed from the exterior surface of the 16" thick walls. The recess and the double door are paneled. A rectangular stone lintel exists above the five-light rectangular transom. The east elevation has a paneled door in the northernmost bay, while the west elevation has one window in each bay. The southern gable facade has two windows at the end bays and no opening in the central bay. A second set of two windows was placed with the sills parallel with the lower windows. The higher window frames are set toward the center and touch the shutters of the lower set. The windows of the church have 6/6 sashes and three-panel shutters. The stone lintels are in three pieces, the center of which is shaped to resemble a keystone. The church has a plain box cornice along the east and west fa├žades which parallel the ridge of the roof. The interior originally consisted of one room. During the mid-1960s renovation, a partition was added to contain heating facilities and other conveniences. The plastering, the paneled doors, and simple window frames and the floor are all original. The church sits on an acre of ground which includes a cemetery. Significance: The Mettam Memorial Baptist Church is the oldest ecclesiastical structure in Pikesville and was one of the original congregations in the area. The building is named for its first pastor, Joseph Mettam, who emigrated from England, via Norfolk, to Baltimore in 1832. A licensed minister, he went to Pikesville to preach, was injured in a fall from a horse, and was nursed back to health by local residents. During his convalescence he attracted a congregation who subsequently asked him to stay. A local physician donated the land on which the church stands. The church was constructed in 1835, a year before the congregation joined with five others to found the Maryland Baptist Union Association. This group evolved into the Baptist State Mission Board of Maryland, the state organization of the church. The structure's significance rests in its historical associations with the Baptist Church in Maryland. In 1964 an historical society was formed to assure the preservation of the church. Its simple architectural features echo the fundamental principles of its builders. In 1966 the Pikesville Lions Club preserved the structure and provided it with an adaptive use as a distribution center of legal documents and books for developing nations. Today it serves principally as the monthly meeting place for the board.


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