Mother Bethel Church, founded in August 1794, was the first Methodist church in the North to be organized by African Americans. It was founded by Richard Allen, a former slave, at 6th and Lombard Street in Philadelphia.

Source: Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church. Retrieved from
Famous First Facts, 1997, p.482, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

Holy Redeemer at 10th & Vine Sts., Philadelphia was the first Roman Catholic church and school built specifically for a Chinese congregation in the United States. It was built in 1941.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 7/13/92

Due to Penn's policy of religious toleration, Mass was held in Philadelphia at old St. Joseph's Church on Willing's Alley. At least once, Quakers stood in front of the church to protect it from an anti-Catholic mob.

Source: Philadelphia: The Fabulous City of Firsts, 1976, p.20, G. Don Fairbairn, 974.81 F15p

The First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia takes that honor. It was organized in 1793 by Joseph Priestly, and in 1886 moved into its present home on Chestnut Street.

Source: FWP. Philadelphia. A Guide to the Nations Birthplace. 1974, p.169

The oldest unaltered Lutheran Church in the United States is the Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1743.

Source: History. Retrieved from

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church was built in 1859. It has a seating capacity of 1,400 and is often used for concerts. It is located at the northwest corner of 19th and 20th Street.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.156, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on 20th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia has for a cornerstone a rock from Armagh, Ireland, from which St. Patrick is said to have preached. It was reported that 30,000 people attenede the laying of the cornerstone by the bishop of Armagh.

Source: St.Patrick's Relics. Retrieved from

Christ Church, which stands on 2nd just north of Market Street, was built between 1727 and 1754. Benjamin Franklin organized lotteries to provide funds for its completion. It is now a National Shrine.

Source: The building of Christ from

At Christ Church in Philadelphia, between 1785 and 1789, the Episcopal Church in the United States was established. In 1789 the first meeting of the House of Bishops was held at Christ Church.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.293

If you visit Christ Church, you will find markers showing the pews where George Washington, Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross once sat. The church is now a National Shrine.

Source: from

St. George's Methodist Church on North 4th Street was purchased in 1769. It housed the first annual Conference of Methodist Preachers in 1773. In 1951 the Methodist Historical Center was built next to it.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.293

The Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church is the oldest church in Philadelphia in continuous use. Joseph Yard and John Harrison began work on the Swedish Lutheran Church from 1698 to 1700. It is located at Columbus Blvd. and Christian Street.

Source: Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia, 2005, p.34-35, Roger W. Moss, 726.5097 M855H, See Also the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church website.

This site is the at the present location of St. Joseph's Church on Willing's Alley, south of 4th Street. In 1838 the present St. Joseph's was built; there were two earlier versions, one built in 1733, and another in 1757.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p294

It was founded in South Philadelphia in 1852 by Bishop John Newmann, and is called St. Magdalene de Pazzi Roman Catholic Church.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p 392

It memorializes four chaplains (Methodist, Reformed, Jewish and Catholic) who, on the sinking troopship Dorchester in World War II, handed out all the lifebelts, including their own. They drowned with arms linked.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p. 393

Dedicated in 1951, it was at Broad and Berks Streets in Philadelphia. The chapel was built to honor four WWII chaplains who lost their lives while saving others on the U.S.S. Dorchester, torpedoed off the coast of Greenland. The chapel has moved to Valley Forge and the historic building is now home to the Temple Performing Arts Center.

Source: History of Temple Performing Arts from

The Tacony Baptist Church added a wing in 1915 to the original 1884 structure. The wing was built from discarded grindstones from the Disston Saw Works.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.8:9, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o

In the 1740's a small group of Jews began holding services in private homes and eventually became Miveh Israel, the second-oldest surviving congregation in the US. Their first synagogue, on Cherry Alley between Third and Fourth Streets, was dedicated in September, 1782.The current synagogue opened in August, 1976 on 4th Street between Arch and Market.

Source: Our from

This large structure, which was built from 1846-64, is based on the Lombard Church of St. Charles. Napoleon Le Brun and George Notman designed it, putting a vaulted ceiling 80 feet above the seating capacity for 2,000.

Source: About the Cathedral. from

William Penn granted the Quakers land in 1701 for the Quakers to use as a cemetery. Owen Biddle designed the meeting house. The Arch Street Meeting is Biddle’s principal monument. The east wing and center building were built in 1803-1805. The west wing was completed in 1811.

Source: Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia, 2005, p.48-49, Roger W. Moss, 726.5097 M855H, See Also the Arch Street Friends website.