Washington Chapel C.M.E. Church

Parkville, Missouri
Platte County

Washington Chapel C.M.E. Church at 1137 West Street in Parkville, Missouri was dedicated on the 29th of June, 1907 and boasted a congregation of eighty members, many of whom were prominent leaders in the Black community. The construction of the church was supervised by Charles Patrick Breen, the Superintendent of Buildings at nearby Park College. It was built with native limestone, a material Breen used frequently, and designed in the Late Gothic Revival Style. Members of the Board of Trustees at the College took a great interest in Parkville’s Black community and many of those who worked at the college were deeded land; there were even plans to construct a “Negro Annex” at the school. While the plans for the annex never came to fruition, it was that goal that spurred the construction of Washington Chapel on the land that had been set aside. The congregation of this “Colored Methodist Episcopal Church” (now known as the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church) in Parkville is said to be the second of the denomination in Missouri and had been meeting as early as 1870. Efforts to construct their own church building began as early as 1886. Washington Chapel C.M.E. Church served as a spiritual, social and visual focal point of Parkville’s Black community well into the late 1990s. However, congregant numbers dwindled as many Black families migrated to urban centers to escape discrimination and segregation in Parkville. The small, aging congregation has difficulty completing building maintenance on their own and also struggles to raise funds for outside labor. The roof needs repairs to stop continual water damage, the restrooms are currently non-functional nor ADA compliant, and vandals have recently damaged the structure. It is hoped that listing Washington Chapel C.M.E. Church as a Place in Peril will raise awareness for the plight of this significant piece of Parkville’s Black history, help raise funds for their capital campaign, and garner attention of potential volunteers and preservation professionals who can assist with the preservation of this historic landmark. Donations can be made to Washington Chapel CME Church at 1137 West Street, Parkville, MO 64152.

Washington Chapel CME Church

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