Our History

It all started in 1844 with a Sea Captain named Gustavus…


A Post-Gold Rush Seacoast Town Needs a Church

In 1844, a Swedish Sea Captain by the name of Gustavus W. Schroeder visited the small city of San Francisco in the Northern California Territory. God gave him a vision for the future, which led him to move to our city in 1877.  Zion Baptist Church was born in his living room in 1881.


Changing the Church's Name

The new church was led by a few different pastors and held their meetings in various locations during the first years. Eventually, the church was able to purchase property and build a small meeting building in 1886. With their new location and building, they changed the name of the church to Hamilton Square Baptist Church.

Late 1800s

A Growing Ministry

The years at the end of the 1800s were mostly uneventful in the church's history. The church experienced financial difficulties, but God remained faithful, and many new members continued to support the work of the ministry. A new mission Sunday School was started with the aim of reaching the newly developing Richmond District.


A Shaky Future for the Church

The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 devastated the lives of nearly everyone living in the city. Many church members' homes were destroyed and many more lost their jobs. As refugees fled the city after the devastation, the church saw a large decrease in its membership. While damaged, the church building itself remained usable. The remaining church members sought to use the building to provide relief to the community they served. The church was able to build a beautiful new building in 1912 and continue its ministry to the city.

Early 1900s

Embracing New Beginnings

The new church building offered greater potential for church ministries. During the early 1900s, a new publishing minisitry of the church began with the goal of distributing Gospel literature to the community and beyond. The church also invested in its own music ministry, installing a pipe organ gifted by the women of the church.

Mid 1900s

Nationwide Notoriety

During the 1930s, Hamilton Square's pastor, Dr. Richard E. Day, wrote several books that were published and grew in popularity. The influence of his writing reached far and wide, and he was invited to speak around the country and world.


The Current Church Building is Constructed

On January 7, 1945, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the current building. Over then next several years, the building was built in phases as resources became available. The current sanctuary was dedicated on October 10, 1948.


New Energy at Hamilton Square

Dr. David C. Innes became the senior pastor on January 1, 1977. These early years of his ministry were focused on rebuilding. The church had faced difficulty due to the surrounding area becoming less residential and more comercialized due to the growth of the city. He had a desire to revitalize the church by reaching out to military families at Presidio Army Base and Treasure Island Naval Station. Throughout the next decades, the church hosted conferences and focused heavily on outreach projects in order to connect with the city of San Francisco.

Late 1900s

Strengthening the Ministry

Dr. Brian Kelly and his wife Deborah joined the ministry at Hamilton Square in 1998 to support the mission of the church. Training and discipling believers to become disciple-makers themselves has allowed the church to be continually fruitful and reach out to those who are hurting.


A New Senior Pastor

Pastor Dan & Chris Pelletier began serving in California in 2004 and have served for over a decade at Hamilton Square. In February 2022, the church voted Pastor Pelletier in as their next senior pastor. Their love for the Word of God and the ministry in San Francisco have given this couple great insight and desire for God's work in this great city.


Continuing Faithfully

Now, over 140 years since the church started, Pastor Pelletier is directing the church with a focus on "Touching the Future with Truth from the Past."   He loves working with our team of pastors and deacons as we minister together to impact the mission field that has come to our doorstep.

Would you consider joining the mission of Hamilton Square Baptist Church as it seeks ways to make an impact for eternity in San Francisco and around the world?  We are committed to doing this by proclaiming God's truth with compassion and obedience to the teachings of the Bible.

Read the full story of Hamilton Square Baptist Church here.

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