Founded in 1858 by an American Baptist trailblazer, Frances Iglehart, as a Baptist church, Lake Street Church has been a vibrant, evolving faith community for over 160 years.

In 1995 we changed our name from First Baptist Church of Evanston to Lake Street Church to reflect our ecumenical character. We retain our denominational affiliation with the American Baptist Churches USA and with the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists.

Our present copper-clad Victorial Gothic house of worship opened its doors in 1875 at 607 Lake Street. Today it is Evanston’s oldest public building. In 1995, a major restoration of the Sanctuary was completed. This restoration recaptures the feeling a late 19th Century visitor would have had upon entering the church. The Sanctuary evokes a sense of quiet mystery suggestive of walking into a forest. The earthy colors and tall stained-glass windows imitate a canopy of trees with light shining through. It is with such awe that we reclaim a past that propels us into a future of spiritual and community renewal.

This hard-working, mortgage-free church bustles all week. There’s a homeless shelter in the basement, and the church serves as a community center for a robust range of groups, from Tai Chi lovers to the Board of Elections.


To learn more about our history and building, read our Historical Overview, explore a visual Timeline of our past, learn about our Memorial Garden or find out more about Using Our Space.