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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

127-0274 Third Street Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Third Street Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 02/18/1975

NRHP Listing Date 06/05/1975

NPS property number 75002117

A landmark of the Jackson Ward Historic District, Third Street Bethel A.M.E. Church was built ca. 1857 to house one of Virginia’s first congregations to join the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. The building is among the very few antebellum black churches remaining in the country. Richmond before the Civil War boasted a large free African American population, thus an independent black congregation, while rare, was not extraordinary. To conform with pre-Civil War Virginia Law, the church’s first pastor, G. W. Nolley, was white. In 1867 the Virginia Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized here. The congregation prospered, and in 1875 the exterior of the originally plain brick church was embellished with a new facade incorporating brick towers and Gothic windows. The building was further remodeled in 1914 under the direction of architect Carl Ruehrmund.


Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated February 7, 2019