Historic Places of Worship in Washington, D.C.

Betty K. Koed | Dec 1, 2007

Adas Israel Synagogue and Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum, 701 3rd St. NW, 202-789-0900. Washington's oldest surviving synagogue, now a museum and home to the Jewish Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

All Souls Church, Unitarian (founded 1821), 1500 Harvard St. NW, 202-332-5266. Among the founders of All Souls Church were John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, and Charles Bulfinch. The church bell was cast by Joseph Revere, son of Paul Revere, in 1822.

Asbury United Methodist Church (founded 1836), 11th & K Sts. NW, 202-628-0009. One of the city's most influential African American Methodist churches, and the city's oldest African American church to remain on its original site. Congregants have included Mary Church Terrell and Mary McLeod Bethune.

Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle (founded 1840), 1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW, 202-347-3215. The seat of the Archbishop of Washington, St. Matthew is the heart of Washington's Catholic community. President John F. Kennedy's funeral Mass was said here on November 25, 1963.

Christ Church (founded 1806), 620 G St. SE, 202-547-9300. The original section of the current church was built by Robert Alexander in 1806–07. The bell tower was added in 1849. Stencil glass windows date to 1807. Two windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Friends Meeting House (founded 1930), 2111 Florida Ave. NW, 202-483-3310. The building was designed by architect Walter F. Price; President Herbert Hoover worshiped there.

Grace Reformed Church (founded 1868), 1405 15th St. NW, 202-387-3131. The national memorial of the Reformed Church in the United States. Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the current building in 1902 and attended services there.

Islamic Center and Mosque, 2551 Massachusetts Ave. NW, 202-332-8343. An institution of Muslim scholarship, education, and culture. The minaret and the mosaic inscriptions in Arabic of verses from the Holy Koran are particularly beautiful.

Luther Place Memorial Church (founded 1873), 1226 Vermont Ave. NW, 202-667-1377. Founded by John George Butler as a memorial to the end of slavery and the return of peace after the Civil War, Luther Place Memorial is a distinctive Gothic Revival church and a notable example of post-Civil War architecture.

Metropolitan AME Church (built in 1886), 1518 M St. NW, 202-331-1426. Built in 1886 by black artisans, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church is recognized nationally as the cathedral of AME congregations throughout the United States.

Mt. Zion United Methodist Church (founded 1816), 1334 29th St. NW, 202-234-0148. The oldest African American church in the District of Columbia. Served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

New York Avenue Presbyterian (founded 1803), 1313 New York Ave. NW, 202-393-3700. Often called the Church of the Presidents. Presidents Jackson, Pierce, Buchanan, Johnson, Fillmore, Lincoln, and Cleveland all attended services here regularly. Lincoln's pew has been retained in the center of the present church.

Old Holy Trinity Church (founded 1787), 3515 N St. NW, 202-337-2840. The first Catholic church in the District of Columbia, located in Georgetown.

St. Augustine Catholic Church (founded 1858), 1425 V St. NW, 202-234-1786. Founded by a group of emancipated African American Catholics at 15th and L St. NW in 1858, the congregation later moved to this 1883 Gothic Revival-style building.

St. John's Episcopal Church of Georgetown (founded 1796), 3240 O St. NW, 202-338-1796. The church has been at its current location since 1806. Past members include Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, and Thomas Corcoran.

St. John's Episcopal Church Lafayette Square (founded 1815), 16th & H St. NW, 202-347-8766. Just opposite the White House on the north side of Lafayette Square, St. John's was organized to serve as a church for occupants of the White House and their families.

Sixth and I Historic Synagogue (dedicated 1908), Sixth & I St. NW, 202-408-3100. Recently restored on its original site, this historic synagogue was founded by the Adas Israel Hebrew Congregation.

Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts & Wisconsin Aves. NW, 202-537-6200. The second largest church in the country and the sixth largest in the world, this gothic structure dominates the northwestern Washington landscape. Every president since Theodore Roosevelt has attended services here.

—Betty K. Koed is assistant historian for the United States Senate.



Please read our commenting and letters policy before submitting.