Second Baptist Church

Second Baptist Church is the home of the city’s second oldest African-American Baptist congregation, founded in 1848.

Second Baptist sprang from the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church and is noted in the Baptist movement as the mother church for many other area congregations. The church was first located on this site in 1856, and served, according to oral history, as a stop on the Underground Railroad. For many years, its large and distinguished Sunday School Lyceum was a forum for illustrious guests including Frederick Douglass and Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. The imposing Victorian Gothic church is also a significant reminder of the largely vanished neighborhood northwest of North Capitol and H Streets. Designed by prolific and prominent Washington architect Appleton P. Clark, the church also reflects the fashion for Romanesque—notably in its rusticated Indiana limestone facade with massive square stair towers, rounded buttresses, and slit-like windows. The facade, original stained glass windows, and interior are highly intact.

DC Inventory: December 18, 2002
National Register: June 30, 2004

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816 3rd Street, NW