BNHA Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church


Baltimore City Landmark

National Register of Historic Places

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

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Star Attractions

Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

508 Dolphin St

Baltimore, Maryland 21217

Named in honor of its original location, Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church descends from the first black congregation in Baltimore. In 1797, blacks gathered at 112-116 Sharp Street where the Maryland Society for the Abolition of Slavery opened the Baltimore African Academy, the city’s first prominent day school for blacks. The society abandoned this project and sold the lot and building in 1802 to the black congregation, which then built a church on the property, quickly becoming a community hub. People gathered here to worship, discuss the abolitionist and African colonization movements, raise money to purchase the freedom of slaves, hear their advocates speak, and receive schooling.

In 1864, the church hosted the first regional conference for African American Methodists, resulting in the first appointment of black pastors and  creation of a black governing board. Following its congregation into northwest Baltimore, the church erected the present building designed by Alphonsus Bieler in 1898. In 1921, Arthur M. Segoin, a black architect, designed the adjacent Community House, the first of its kind in Baltimore.