Behind the Scenes Tour of the Old Otterbein Church

Image courtesy wallyg/Flickr

Old Otterbein Church, built in 1785, is the oldest church still standing in Baltimore. With its classic brick and white trim tower (with bells brought over from Germany), the church shows off its landmark stature for countless Orioles fans and anybody traveling around downtown and Camden Yards. Please join us to get a better look at this Baltimore gem and its two historic ancillary buildings, the 1811 Parsonage and the 1872 Sunday School. We’ll also be treated to a demonstration of the church’s one-of-a-kind 1897 Niemann Organ.

Tour Information

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2010
Time: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (the organist will start playing at 6:15)
Place: Old Otterbein Church, 112 West Conway Street, 21201
Park in the church lot to the east of the church, entrance off Conway Street
Cost: $10

Old Otterbein got its start in 1771, when a group of Baltimoreans erected a temporary chapel to house the German Evangelical Reformed Church. A few years later, the church hired Philip William Otterbein as pastor. Otterbein had come from Germany to Pennsylvania, and accepted the position in Baltimore as his fifth pastoral duty. He apparently took to Baltimore, preaching at the church for 39 years and staying in the city for the rest of his life. Otterbein was a remarkable man. In 1784, he assisted Francis Asbury in founding the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in 1800, he and Martin Boehm helped found the United Brethren in Christ, with Otterbein’s church in Baltimore as the cradle of the new denomination. The present church structure was erected in 1785, with the nearby parsonage in 1811 and the city’s first German Sunday School in 1827 (now in the 1872 Sunday School building). The interior of the church has been remodeled at various times, but the sanctuary remains the oldest in continuous use in Baltimore and the church is the only extant eighteenth century church in the city. Please join us and our tour guide, Behind the Scenes tour goer and Old Otterbein historian Bob Isenhart, for walk through the buildings that make up this great historic place.

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