St. Matthias Epsicopal Church
Organized in 1832, the local African-American congregation built a frame home in 1867 to worship and moved into a bigger brick building in 1898 that is still in use today. Originally named the Freedmen's Church, this church is believed to be the oldest church serving African-American Episcopalians in Asheville
Backstory and Context
Just a couple years following the end the Civil War, African-American Episcopalians, now free, were not allowed to attend white churches nor were there any churches constructed for use by African-American worshippers. In 1867, Rev. Jarvis Buxton helped found the Trinity Chapel to house his congregation that he formed back in 1832. The Chapel was a frame home that also served as a parochial day school to provide formal education to both black youth and adults. Buxton had also overseen similar Trinity Chapels for local white congregations.
The chapel was deemed unsafe for the growing congregation in 1893. The following year saw the beginning construction for a one-floor brick structure and was completed in 1898. James Vester Miller, former slave and member of church, oversaw the construction. Moving into this new and now permanent church building, the congregation renamed to St. Matthias Episcopal Church.
The church now serves a diverse congregation.
The brick church sits on "East End" atop a hill in central Asheville, which is the oldest neighborhood in Asheville developed by African-Americans.
The church registered in the NRHP in 1979.