Olivet Baptist Church

Built in 1930 as the Edgewood Theater

Established in 1922, Olivet Baptist Church has occupied the historic Edgewood Theatre since the late 1960s. Built in 1930, the Edgewood Theatre was designed by one of the city’s most prominent theatre architects—John J. Zink.

Born in Baltimore in 1886, Zink graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1904 and started work with architect William H. Hodges and the local architecture firm Wyatt & Nolting. He began working on theatres when he joined architect Thomas W. Lamb in designing the famous Hippodrome Theatre on Eutaw Street and the Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown, Maryland. Over the next few decades, Zink and his partners designed over 200 movie theatres in cities up and down the east coast including over thirty in the Baltimore-DC area including the Senator Theatre on York Road and the Town Theatre (now known as the Everyman).

In the Edgewood Theatre's heyday, the marquee featured a tall electric sign (a near twin of the Patterson designed by Zink on Eastern Avenue). Like many smaller neighborhood theatres, the business began to struggle in the 1950s and, after a brief second life as an art house theatre in 1962, ended its life as a movie house. That same year, Bishop Wilburn S. Watson joined the Olivet Baptist Church then located in a modest building on Riggs Avenue. In the late 1960s, Bishop Watson led the effort to purchase the former theatre on Edmondson Avenue and convert the building into a new sanctuary for the congregation.



3500 Edmondson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229