text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Old St. George's


If we walk north on Fourth Street and go under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, at 235 North 4th Street we come to Old St. George's Methodist Church. Called "The Cradle of American Methodism," it is the oldest Methodist church in the world, and has been in continuous use for well over 200 years. In 1777, the British occupied Philadelphia, using Old St. George's for a cavalry school — it still had a dirt floor and its front door opened directly onto the street. In 1784, Richard Allen, the first African-American licensed to preach by the Methodists in America, was licensed by St. George's.

The church has fragile, black, lacy chandeliers of iron that contrast beautifully with the white interior. The Methodist Historical Society museum has a collection of furniture, church silver, even a cobbler's bench, the saddlebags which were used by itinerant preachers, and cases full of memorabilia of all sorts, even tickets for a Love Feast of 1770!

Historic District, North of Market Street