Aisquith Street Meeting House

Baltimore's Oldest House of Worship

The Meetinghouse is the oldest surviving house of worship in Baltimore. Among those who worshipped here were Elisha Tyson, Johns Hopkins, Moses Sheppard, Phillip E. Thomas and the Tyson, Ellicott and McKim families.

In 1775, Patapsco Meeting, in what was then Baltimore County recorded that they wished to move their Meeting to Baltimore Town. By 1781, at the cost of $4,500, a new Meetinghouse had been erected at Fayette Street (then Pitt) and Aisquith Street (then Smock Alley). Designed by George Matthews, it has separate men’s and women’s entrances into a plain and spacious room with a high vaulted ceiling. Sliding wood paneling partitioned the room for Men’s and Women’s Business Meetings. It could be raised for Meetings for Worship or larger gatherings.

There soon was a need to provide for the educational needs of the children of Friends. By 1784, Meeting records document the establishment of a committee to oversee a school which became what is now Baltimore Friends School.

Baltimore Yearly Meeting was so well attended by the end of the century that in 1772 a thirty-acre tract of pasture land was purchased to accommodate the annual influx of Friends. By 1817, when the first gas lamp was slit at the corner of Baltimore & Holiday Streets, Baltimore had emerged as a center of trade and industry, and the need for a second Meetinghouse to the west resulted in the construction of Lombard Street Meeting in 1807.

Restoration of this meetinghouse is 1967 cost about $50,000, through the joint efforts of the City of Baltimore and the McKim Community Association, Inc. under the leadership of mayor Theodore McKeldin and Philip Myers. The historic building was then administered and maintained by the Peale Museum, and leased to McKim for programs.

Images

Aisquith Street Meeting House, 2012

Aisquith Street Meeting House, 2012

Source: Wikimedia Commons | Creator: Smallbones View File Details Page

Street Address:

1201 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21202 [map]

Cite this Page:

The McKim Community Association, “Aisquith Street Meeting House,” Explore Baltimore Heritage, accessed May 26, 2017, http://explore.baltimoreheritage.org/items/show/203.
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