This description is based on the 1971 Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties form for Bethel A.M.E. Church.
Built in “Norman Gothic” style, facade with rusticated white Maryland marble. The facade is in two stories. The portico is deeply recessed with a large tympanum. It· is· flanked by two round arched windows. Of the seven bays in the second story the four smaller bays are blind. They flank the larger bays, which are decorated with stained glass. A rose window appears above the central bay. A truncated towed to the right of the facade, rises slightly higher than the central bay. Two bipartite windows decorate the front of the tower. The bell tower, on the left of the facade, is divided into five stories.
Lateral buttressing tapers into blocks capped by hexagonal finials. A central buttress extends well into the third story windows begin in the second story, which contains two. There are four windows in the third story; the lower two are rectangular while the upper two are bipartite. The fourth story is marked by four round-arched blind bays. The fifth story likewise contains four bays, but these are open and of slighty larger dimensions than those of the fourth story. An occulus appears above the two central bays. A large octagonal cornice spire completes the tower.
The Bethel A. M. E. Church has every characteristic of a landmark architectural quality, prominence, and historical interest. It is a fine example of 19th century Gothic Revival architecture, designed by N. H. Hutton and John Murdoch who had also designed several other well-known Baltimore churches.
The church was originally constructed in 1868 for St. Pete’s Protestant Episcopal Church. It was sold in 1910 for $90,000 to the Bethel A. M. E . Church, an old and important congregation, several of whose pastors later became bishops of the A. M. E. Church.
- “Historic Old Bethel.: A Jubilee Week of Special Festivities.,” Afro-American (1893-1988), July 16, 1898, http://search.proquest.com/hnpbaltimoreafricanamerican/docview/530244977/abstract/C62234A3A5BD47D3PQ/216?accountid=10750.
- “Bethel A. M. E. Church Enters New Home Under Auspicious Circumstances,” Afro-American (1893-1988), January 14, 1911, http://search.proquest.com/docview/530321152/abstract/1386EC743AE1EC47D62/16?accountid=10750.
- “R. WM. PICKLAND PASSES AWAY: Popular Pastor of Bethel A. M. E. Church Had Been Ill For Some Time WAS WIDELY KNOWN AND MUCH LOVED Impressive Funeral Services to Be Held at Bethel Church Saturday Morning,” Afro-American (1893-1988), October 18, 1913.
- “Bugler Sounds Taps For Afro’s Publisher: Bethel Church Crowded and Druid Hill Avenue Lined With Men and Women of All Walks of Life to Pay Last Respects to J. H Murphy,” Afro-American (1893-1988), April 14, 1922.
- “ELKS START WEEK’S CELEBRATION HERE: TWO ELK LODGES JOIN IN WEEK’S CELEBRATION Monumental Takes Part in Pride of Baltimore Anniversary. BEGINS SUNDAY Band Concert at Bethel Starts Affair.,” Afro-American (1893-1988), October 19, 1929.
- Martha Phillips, “Hamilton Street, Once Colored, Has Become White Neighborhood: Tiny Street in City’s Center Once Housed Bethel’s Pastors, the Hills, Mallorys, Bishops, Brownes, and McCabes.,” Afro-American (1893-1988), September 18, 1937.
- Elizabeth Oliver, “New Pastor Hopes Bethel Will Continue Service in Inner City,” Afro-American (1893-1988), June 15, 1968.