Walnut Street Baptist Church is the largest and oldest Baptist church in Louisville. Founded in 1815 as the First Baptist Church, it merged with Second Baptist Church in 1845. The merged congregation then moved to Fourth and Walnut Street until 1902. With over 1000 attendants by this time, the church built a new facility at its current location at Third and St Catherine. At that time it was considered the largest Baptist church in the South.
Walnut Street Baptist has been a major influence on the Baptist community and downtown community of Louisville. By 1960, the church helped start 78 Baptist churches through the Long Run Association. The congregation has been involved in community outreach and urban ministries. The church was one of the first churches to develop a community center that included a bowling alley, skating rink, and a gymnasium among other things.The congregation was instrumental in the relocation of the Southern Baptist Seminary from South Carolina to Louisville in 1877.