BNHA Saint Peter Claver Church


Baltimore City Landmark

Interpretive Framework

Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality

Seeking Prosperity on the Chesapeake: Baltimore History from Colonial Times through the 1800s

Star Attractions

Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

1546 N Fremont Ave

Baltimore, Maryland 21217

Saint Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church, with the largest African American Catholic congregation in the city, has a long-standing tradition of Civil Rights activism. Baltimore was the first mission ground for the Society of Saint Joseph, which sent four priests from England in 1871. The Josephite order was founded in Baltimore in 1873 and in 1888 bought the present Saint Peter Claver property from the Whatcoat Methodist Episcopal Church. Since 1893 the order has been dedicated specifically to the aid and administration of African Americans. Saint Peter Claver was a 17th-century Spaniard known as the “Apostle of the Slaves” in South America.

In 1902 the present red brick Italianate church was added to the distinguished complex of buildings. Saint Peter Claver Hall, damaged by fire in 1967, was the impressive Queen Anne styled building of Fuller Memorial Baptist Church, built in 1884 and designed by Architect William H. Marriott. In the 1960s, while the parish of Father Philip Berrigan, Saint Peter Claver Church began an intensive program of community organization.

Site summary courtesy of the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation