BNHA Orchard Street Church
Baltimore City Landmark
National Register of Historic Places
Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality
Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century
Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail
Points of Interest
510 Orchard St
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Orchard Street Church was founded in 1825 by Truman Le Pratt, a former slave of Maryland Governor John Eager Howard. The congregation originally gathered in Le Pratt’s home, the only place of worship for African Americans in the community. The congregation grew quickly and built Orchard Street United Methodist Church in 1837, formerly known as the Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church.
The church provided housing, jobs, medical care and spiritual guidance to African Americans and others seeking freedom and equality. Closing its doors in 1970, the church remained vacant for 22 years until it reopened as the headquarters for the Baltimore Urban League (founded 1924).
Under the leadership of president and League CEO Roger Lyons, the structure was completely renovated. The League, under the leadership of President J. Howard Henderson, continues the church’s original mission: to advocate and provide social services for those in need. The site hosts several historical re-enactments that include excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sermons and Harriett Tubman helping slaves on the way to freedom.