Gardens to Gables

Ghent Baptist Church, Carroll County, Kentucky

The vernacular front gable church with two entry doors has great appeal to a wide audience. I love the simplistic, almost austere beauty of these buildings. As a historic type, they were built in Kentucky through almost every stylistic period and decade, up into the 20th century. The Ghent Baptist Church, constructed in 1843, is a handsome Greek Revival style example of the type.

The facade of the Ghent Baptist Church.

The Ohio River town of Ghent, Kentucky (pronounced “Jent”) was first formally surveyed in 1805, and in 1814, the fledgling village was christened Ghent by none other than the Great Compromiser himself, Henry Clay. The congregation of this church first organized in 1800 as the Baptist Church of Port William (the original name of Carrollton, Kentucky).

Historic view of the church, date unknown, from Northern Kentucky views website.

Some of the members had belonged to the Traveling Church, like Virginian Elijah Craig, sometimes better remembered today for his role in developing Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry. (And his name features prominently on one of distiller Heaven Hill’s bourbons.)

The first building to house the new church was log, built at the mouth of McCool’s Creek, but it was soon replaced (in 1814) with a brick building in the town that would become Ghent.

By 1843, the congregation has grown to such an extent that a larger building seemed in order – and this new church was financed not only by cash donations, but also by farm products and multiple barrels of whiskey.

A large front gable with cornice returns, supported by four sturdy brick columns, dominates the facade, which is fairly restrained. Only the afore-mentioned two doors, each with a transom, are located on the facade. Simple stone lintels top the doors and windows.

A historic (undated) view of the interior. Photo from the from Northern Kentucky views website.

The main mass of the building remains relatively unchanged, though the original steeple suited the building  much better than the present one. A lateral side addition, circa 1923, is sympathetic to the original core of the church – though I would hazard a guess that no whiskey was bartered for its construction…

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2 Thoughts on “Ghent Baptist Church, Carroll County, Kentucky

  1. David Ames on May 3, 2017 at 7:58 am said:

    Great history; great church; really like the earlier steeple altho it looks a little like it might be a Victorian addition.

    • Janie-Rice Brother on May 3, 2017 at 9:32 am said:

      I know! It fit the building much better. I wonder if the 1843 version even had a steeple? I think perhaps not.

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