Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church (Saint Mary's Chapel)

St. Mary's is the home of the first African American Episcopal congregation in DC, split from the Church of the Epiphany.

Formed in 1866-1867, St. Mary's Episcopal Church was founded by African American congregants wanting to create their own church from the Church of the Epiphany. After establishing their congregation, the church searched for a site to build their own chapel, and were able to do so with recycled materials from a chapel being demolished at a nearby hospital. The original church's construction was overseen by various parties, but by its completion included the chapel and a school building built behind it.

The current church was designed by the architecture firm Renwick, Aspinwall, and Russell in 1886. Renwick was a noted architect for his designs of the Smithsonian Castle, the Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel, and Renwick Gallery (Corcoran Gallery). The Gothic Revival style church allowed congregants to gather for services and maintained the school building also on the property.

DC Inventory: March 28, 1972 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Register: April 2, 1973



730 23rd Street, NW