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Is the First Baptist Church spire the tallest structure in Wilmington?

Ken Little

Wilmington’s First Baptist Church (left) and First Presbyterian Church are just two of several whose spires punctuate the city’s skyline. Staff Photo BY PAUL STEPHEN

Q. I was told that First Baptist Church was the tallest structure in Wilmington. Am I mistaken?

A. Wilmington’s First Baptist Church eastern spire remains the tallest structure in Wilmington, at 197 feet.

The spire is the same height as the one that toppled over in 1996 during Hurricane Fran, said Jim Everette, associate pastor of First Baptist Church.

The taller spire was replaced at the same height it was in its original state — 197 feet. It was completed originally in 1861 and was completed the second time in 1998, Everette said.

The First Baptist Church eastern spire was said to be the tallest church spire in the United States, according to Tony P. Wrenn in his 1984 book “Wilmington, N.C.: An Architectural and Historical Portrait.”

Joseph Sheppard, a library associate who works in the North Carolina Room of the New Hanover County Public Library, said it’s possible the spire may be the tallest in the U.S. to this day.

The tallest building is the PPD tower along the riverfront in downtown Wilmington, city planner Ron Satterfield said several years ago.

The tower is 187.5 feet tall with a 6-foot parapet wall, which makes the height from the street about 193 feet, Satterfield said.


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User-contributed question by:
David McCall

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