Sandwich First Baptist Church

Erected in 1851 on land donated by the Crown, the Sandwich First Baptist Church (a National Historic Site) represents the once numerous Black border-town churches which were built to serve the rapidly increasing numbers of Underground Railroad settlers. This church received, sheltered, and assisted many of these new arrivals. All members were required to aid in its construction by giving donations or making bricks. It replaced a log cabin on Hill Street in Olde Sandwich Towne whose use as a Black church dated back to the early 1820s.
A focal point for many local anti-slavery activities, the Sandwich First Baptist Church stands as an important symbol of that struggle. When a bounty hunter was seen in the area, a bell was rung and every person who heard the ringing of the bell picked up a bell and began to ring it so that those who had escaped from the South would have time to hide in a designated spot in the church. The pastor would lock the door at the hearing of the bell. When all the formerly enslaved people were hidden away he would instruct his church to start singing "There’s a Stranger at the Door" and the church doors would be opened. Unable to find whoever they were looking for; the bounty hunter would leave empty handed.
Learn more at the University of Windsor's educational portal The North was Our Canaan: Exploring Sandwich Town's Underground Railroad History.
Read this history of Sandwich First Baptist Church in the Walkerville Times.