Click Here for a pdf version of map and directions; print a copy to take with you on your walk.
The instructions below each stop will help you to get to the next one.
Starting at #1: St. George’s UMC • 235 N 4th St (between Race and Vine Sts), then…
Staying on the east sidewalk of 4th Street, go south for two blocks to Arch Street and turn left. On Arch Street you will go by a large bust of Benjamin Franklin whom we will talk about shortly. Twenty feet beyond the Franklin bust, between 321 and 323 Arch Street, is the entrance to Loxley Court. The sidewalk through this court is a public thoroughfare even though it does not feel that way. Go ahead and enter and quietly proceed to the courtyard fifty feet ahead of you.
Stop #2: No. 8 Loxley Court
From the entrance to Loxley Court on Arch Street retrace your steps back to the corner of Arch and 4th Street and cross Arch Street and enter the grounds of the Arch Street Meeting House of the Philadelphia Quakers. There is an entrance in the wall surrounding the meeting house nearly directly across the street from Loxley Court.
Stop #3: Arch Street Meeting House
Walk across the 4th Street from the Quaker Meeting House toward the Wyndham Hotel. Just to the south of the hotel is a plaque noting the site of an early Unitarian church. Before it was a meeting place for the Unitarians, however, it was George Whitefield’s preaching house and “Charity School.”
Stop #4: George Whitefield’s Preaching House
Walk a half block north from the Unitarian plaque to the next street corner (4th Street and Arch Street). Here again you will see a plaque erected by a University of Pennsylvania class to honor the place where their university began – again, after it was first established as a place for Whitefield to preach. It also became a site for another Methodist Church years after Whitefield’s death.
Stop #5: Union Church and the Growth of Methodist Episcopal Bureaucracy
From the southwest corner of 4th and Arch, continue west down Arch Street for one block to Ben Franklin’s grave observable through the cast iron fenced opening in the brick wall.
Stop #6: Ben Franklin’s grave: A Memorial to an Unlikely Friendship
Head west and cross 5th Street and, if the weather is warm, stop under a bit of shade 20 feet from the corner behind the colonial-era structure, another Quaker Meeting House.
Stop #7: Home of James Dexter and the formation of The Free African Society
Walk south now along the sidewalk through the lawn that stretches between the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall. Public restrooms are available in the Visitor’s Center to your right. From the front entrance to the Visitor’s Center continue south crossing Market Street and spend some time looking at the displays for the President’s House partially rebuilt floor plan.
Stop #8: President’s House
From the President’s House continue to head south toward Independence Hall. Cross the street in front of Independence Hall to the left of that building along 5th Street and continue walking toward the other side of Independence Hall. Feel free to rest here under one of the many shade trees.
Stop #9: Independence Hall and Wesley’s attitude toward the Colonists
From the southern, shady side of Independence Hall – the side not facing the National Constitution Center - walk to the corner of 5th and Walnut streets and cross Walnut street. Continue walking south on 5th on the west (right) side of the street for one block. You will notice - after crossing a small street - a historical marker for the original site of St. Thomas African Episcopal Church.
Stop #10: St. Thomas African Episcopal Church
Retrace your steps one block by walking north to the corner of 5th and Walnut and turn right (east). Walk two blocks to the corner of 3rd and Walnut.
Stop #11: Benjamin Rush’s home and African Methodists’ role in the Yellow Fever Epidemic
On the east side of 3rd Street at the corner of Walnut walk a half block south to a historical marker for Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
Stop #12: Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” – A bestseller “Methodist” pamphlet?
Walk another few steps further south on 3rd Street to St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church, 225 South 3rd Street.
Stop #13: St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church and Joseph Pilmore
From St. Paul’s, walk across the street (west) to Willings Alley. Continue walking until 4th Street and then turn left (south). In 2 ½ blocks turn right (west) on Spruce Street for ½ block. Stop when you come to Lawrence Court, a brick walkway running south from Spruce. Richard Allen’s home was located here at the middle of the block on Spruce between 4th and 5th Street.
Stop #14: Bishop Richard Allen’s Home
Continue walking west on Spruce Street for 1 ½ blocks to 6th Street. Turn left (south) for four short blocks until you see Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a large brick structure on your left just before Lombard Street.
Stop #15: Mother Bethel AME
At the corner of Lombard and 6th Street just south of the Mother Bethel AME Church building cross the street to the west side of 6th Street. Continue walking a half block to the historical marker for W. E. B. Du Bois.
Stop #16: W. E. B. DuBois’s Home during His Research Study
From the W.E.B. Du Bois marker continue walking South across (the very busy) South Street. One block south of South Street turn right on Kater Street. A half block down Kater Street stop in front of #619 Kater Street. This is now a private residence.
Stop #17: Bedford Street Mission
Retrace your steps north on 6th Street two blocks and turn right (east) on Lombard Street just before Mother Bethel AME Church. Begin walking east on Lombard for two blocks. (Along the way, there are two additional sites to briefly point out. First, just to the east of Mother Bethel AME stands B’nai Abraham Synagogue, the oldest Jewish synagogue in continuous use in Philadelphia. This synagogue purchased their first building on this site from Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church which had split off from Mother Bethel AME in the early 1800s. Another block east on Lombard, on your left, you will walk by the Presbyterian Historical Society which contains the archival holdings for the Presbyterian Church USA denomination as well as the National Council of Churches of Christ. Methodists played a major role in the National Council of Churches in the latter half of the 20th century. The Presbyterian Historical Society has exhibits in their lobby and are open to the public.) Walk east on Lombard Street until Fourth Street. Our next story took place on one of the corners before you. We don’t know which one.
Stop #18: Fighting Methodist: Lewis C. Levin
From the corner of 4th Street and Lombard continue walking east for one more block to 3rd Street. Turn left (north) on 3rd Street. Walk north for one block to Pine Street.
Stop #19: Home of Absalom Jones
From the corner of 3rd Street and Pine continue walking east along Pine Street for two blocks until Front Street. Here you have a decision to make. The next site was located two blocks south on Front Street near the intersection with South Street. You may either walk those two blocks and then retrace your steps north to our next stop or listen to the story of the Methodist Sailors Home here. There is no architectural trace of the Methodist Sailors Home today as the freeway construction radically changed this area.
Stop #20: Methodist Sailors Home
From the site of the Methodist Sailors Home retrace your steps and continue walking north along Front Street for four blocks (from South Street) to Spruce Street. At Spruce Street continue to walk north into the Korean War Memorial Park.
Stop #21: Korean War Memorial: The Methodist Connection
From the Korean War Memorial continue walking to the northwest corner of the memorial and then continue to walk along the winding Dock Street. Feel free to stop anywhere along Dock Street for our last stop.
Stop #22: Dock Street Location of first Methodist meeting.
To return to Independence Hall continue walking north on Dock Street on 2nd Street for a half block and then west on Walnut Street for three blocks.