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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Charity V. Davidson, 02/1998
Otterbein Church
Inventory No.: B-11
Date Listed: 10/28/1969
Location: 112 W. Conway Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1785-1786
Architect/Builder: Architect: Jacob Small, Sr.
Description: Otterbien Church is a two-story brick Georgian structure with a peaked roof topped on the west gable by a square tower and an octagonal cupola-on-cupola. A white limestone belt course separates the first and second stories, and a wooden modillion cornice encircles the building. The entrance, in the second to the westernmost of five bays, is covered by a pedimented vestibule. A double door, paneled, has leaded stained glass sidelights and an arched transom. The windows on each floor have semicircular arches with radiating muntins and 22/15 sash. Much of the original glass still remains. A major remodeling in 1839 created a projection with hipped roof in the east wall which also houses the pulpit and marks the apse. These renovations also resulted in the removal of the interior balconies. The bells, cast in Germany and installed in 1789, are still in use. Significance: The Otterbein Church is the only continuously used 18th-century church building in the city of Baltimore. It was built in 1785-86 by Jacob Small, Sr., a local carpenter. The design for the building is also attributed to Small. The church was built for a group of Germans who had separated from the Lutheran Church. Here, in 1789, the first Conference of United Brethren preachers was held, resulting in the official organization of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and in the election of Pastor Otterbein as a bishop of the new church. Otterbein’s grave, in the churchyard, is marked by a monument, erected in 1913, one hundred years following his death.
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