Historic Religious Venues & Colleges

Get to know another side of Baltimore – discover the city’s rich history through our religious sites and historically black colleges and universities.

Baltimore’s religious venues and colleges are an integral part of our city’s past and present. From the ethereal glow of the historic Baltimore Basilica, to the storied walls of our historically black universities and churches, exploring the city’s religious sites and colleges will bring to life a side of Baltimore that few come to know. 

Historic Religious Venues

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
408 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

The Baltimore Basilica, now more than 200 years old, was the first Roman Catholic Cathedral built in the United States.  The Basilica is a National Historic Landmark and National Shrine.

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
1300 Druid Hill Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217

The oldest independent African-American institution in Baltimore, Bethel was founded when a group of African-Americans led by Daniel Payne Coker walked out of a Methodist church because of racially segregated seating. Today, Bethel continues to have an impact on its local and regional communities. 

First Baptist Church
525 North Caroline Street
Baltimore, MD 21205

Founded in 1836 by ex-slave and lay minister, Moses Clayton, First Baptist was Maryland's first Black Baptist church. The church's archives feature manuscripts, pictures, articles and memorabilia dating back to the 1830s. 

Leadenhall Baptist Church
1021 Leadenhall Street 
Baltimore, MD 21230

Founded in 1873, Leadenhall is the second oldest Black church edifice in Baltimore and home to one of the city's largest African-American congregations. 

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church and Museum
2200 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

Designed by the famous architect Stanford White in 1884, Lovely Lane is on the National Register of Historic Places. Considered the "mother church" of American Methodism, it was the first meeting place for the denomination's founders and their congregation. The museum contains portraits, hymnals and memorabilia from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Orchard Street Church/Urban League 
512 Orchard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Founded by former slave Truman Pratt, the Orchard Street Church was known to be a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Today, the site is the home of the Baltimore Urban League. 

Saint Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church
1546 North Fremont Street
Baltimore, MD 21217

Founded in 1888 and home to the first parish in the world dedicated to St. Peter Claver, Apostle of the Slaves, this church runs one of the oldest private elementary schools for African-Americans in the country. 

Sharp Street United Methodist Church
1206 Etting Street
Baltimore, MD 21217

Established in 1787, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Sharp Street is the home of Baltimore's first African-American congregation. With ties to politics, civil rights and education, the church has a rich history. It served as host church for early meetings of the NAACP and housed the seminary school that would later become Morgan State University. 

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
1501 East Oliver Street
Baltimore, MD 21213

Founded in 1864, St. Francis is the oldest African-American Catholic church in the nation. The Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first religious order for women of African descent, founded its St. Francis Academy for women. 

Union Baptist
1219 Druid Hill Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217

Founded in 1852, Union Baptist became a center for the civil rights struggle. Its pastor was also the founder of the Colored Convention, which evolved into today's United Baptist Association. 

Historically Black Colleges & Universities

Coppin State University  
2500 West North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21216

Coppin State College began in 1900 as a small training program for elementary school educators. Today, the university anchors the West Baltimore community and awards undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts, the sciences, education, nursing, social work and criminal justice.  

Morgan State University 
1700 East Cold Spring Lane
Baltimore, MD 21251 

Home of the Murphy Fine Arts Center, the world-renowned Morgan State University Choir and WEAA, one of the region's leading public radio stations, Morgan State University has expanded its areas of excellence to include culture, community and the arts. Founded in 1867 as a seminary school, the school has evolved into one of the nation's most distinguished historically Black institutions.