The First Baptist Church of Clinton, 2020 N. Third St., will host an open house on Saturday between 2 and 5 p.m. to commemorate its 150th anniversary.

The open house will feature displays detailing the church’s rich history and the current services and outreaches of the church. The church organist will perform on the church’s historic organ, which is more than 115 years old, and refreshments will be served. Commemorative cookbooks will be available for $8.

“We just have an awful lot of new people,” said the Rev. Ron Lott. “And so, this is a good thing for us to help them get in touch with the history of our church and our roots.”

The church was organized in January 1857. At that time, Iowa had been a state for only 11 years; Clinton had a population of 600, and Lyons and Chancy were separate towns.

The early years of the church were quite tumultuous.

During the first year and a half, the church relocated twice. In 1859, the church briefly suspended services due to financial difficulties. Soon after the church resumed services, the building was moved to allow the construction of a new brick church building.

The new building was completed and dedicated in 1874. Thirteen years later, a massive fire destroyed the church and all surrounding buildings. The outside brick walls were left standing and the church decided to rebuild in the same location.

In 1888, the second floor on the rebuilt church was completed and dedicated.

The church acquired its historical organ to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 1907. The organ was built by the Moline Organ Company around 1890.

In 1981, the church purchased land at 2020 N. Third St. for a new building. A New Building Council was established in 1987. Two years later, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the new site and construction began.

On Palm Sunday in 1990, a “Transition Service” was held, with half of the Sunday service at the old building, and half of the service conducted at the new building.

During the church’s move to its current location, a group effort was required to transport the historic organ. A large group of volunteers disassembled and cleaned the organ for its move to the new location.

“(The organ) was, for the older congregation, as one of them put it, our Teddy bear when we moved from the old building to the new building,” Lott said. “They said it helped us get from there to here, we brought a little piece with us.”

In 1993, The Organ Historical Society in Richmond, Va., recognized the significance of the organ by adding it to its list of historic American Organs.

Lott reflected on the significance of the 150-year milestone.

“It really demonstrates that the church has been active for a long time, and that God’s been busy for a long time in the community,” Lott said. “And both he and they will continue for a long time.

“I guess it just puts our part into perspective. We’re part of a much broader stroke of history. ... I find that encouraging.”