Plymouth Church
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J.C. Wells, 1850

Plymouth Church has been a vital presence in Brooklyn for over 160 years. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, it features noteworthy examples of American art and architecture in keeping with its significant history. The 1850 Sanctuary was designed by J.C. Wells, a founder of the American Institute of Architects. It is clearly intended for preaching, with excellent acoustics, good visibility and no center aisle. Its stained glass windows, created by Frederick Lamb, are unusual in depicting historical, not religious, subjects on the theme of liberty: personal, religious and political. The distinctive organ was installed in 1904, using casework and pipes from an 1866 E. & G.G. Hook instrument—the largest organ ever built in the U.S. at that time.

Plymouth’s first pastor, Henry Ward Beecher, was a powerful preacher and outspoken abolitionist. He staged mock “auctions,” raising funds to purchase the freedom of actual slaves and the church became known as the “Grand Central Depot” of the Underground Railroad. The congregation’s invitation to Abraham Lincoln resulted in his momentous Cooper Union address, securing his nomination for the presidency. Member Branch Rickey prayed at the church before hiring Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech at Plymouth called “The American Dream.” Tours during OHNY Weekend will include a visit to the pew where Lincoln sat, as well as the basement where slaves journeying to freedom were hidden.

Saturday & Sunday Tour Info: Tours with members of the Plymouth History Ministry will last approximately 45 min.

Access Notes: The tour is wheelchair accessible except for the basement.

 

Reservations for this tour are now sold out. Interested in exploring Brooklyn's historic churches? You may also enjoy the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, which require no reservations! Click on each site’s name to check out its Open Access listing.

 

Image credit: Plymouth Church

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