Mount Vernon Square

First Tabernacle

401 New York Avenue is a small one-story building, constructed in 1857 as the Fletcher Chapel. The large and popular McKendree Methodist Church built this chapel as a missionary outpost in what was originally an isolated area on the fringe of downtown. In the 1890’s, it was the site of meetings that were attended by representatives from fifty city churches, as one of the starts of the national temperance movement.

McKendree Methodist sold the building in 1905 to the Church of Gods and Saints of Christ, who has operated it since then as the First Tabernacle. The Church of Gods and Saints of Christ was established in 1896, and is “the oldest African-American congregation in the United States that adheres to the tenets of Judaism” (from their website).

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.