In 1796, a foundation was laid for a two-story building. Around 1804, the Church was near completion as bids were obtained for flooring, gallery, pulpit with canopy, and pine table.
After years of growth followed by years of financial problems, St. John’s was closed in 1831, sold and rented as a studio for the German sculptor Ferdinand Pettrich. (Read more here or download a short bio here.) In 1838, a group of young ladies from the parish raised $50 to purchase the church building and return it to sacred use. A year later, improvements were made, including a new organ, a new tower entrance and a brick wall topped with a fence on the north and west sides. Additional Enhancements followed in 1843 with the enlargement of the church, the addition of a basement lecture room, and a baptismal font in the center front. Six years later, the parish commissioned a new pulpit, began improvements to altar rails, added a reading desk, a communion table of black Egyptian marble, a replacement organ, and a bell in the steeple.
In 1995, as part of the Bicentennial celebration, the Third Century Campaign was launched to repair and renovate many spaces: structural underpinnings of the sanctuary, second floor design for a new pre-school, the new atrium, a new choir room and offices on the lower level, and moving the Chapel of the Carpenter and Columbarium. The organ was repaired in 1998, followed by a major parish hall renovation in 2005 which created Blake Hall. During 2009, the focus was utilities, as the boiler was replaced, a dedicated air-conditioning system for the sanctuary and Blake Hall was installed.
DC listing November 8, 1964