Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County
Located at 116 Cleveland Avenue (formerly 116 Wheat St.)
The St. James American Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church was chartered in 1833 by a group of 18 African Americans. The AME Zion denomination's roots began in 1796, when some members withdrew from New York City’s John Street Methodist Episcopal Church in protest of discriminatory practices. Pastors such as Henry Johnson, Thomas Tames, and Jermain Loguen preached and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass visited Ithaca's St. James church. The church was the center of the Historic Southside area's cultural life. It was also an Underground Railroad station. Because of its importance, the church was designated a local historic landmark in 1974 and received national historic landmark status in 1982. It has been expanded and rebuilt but remains the oldest religious structure in the city.
This point of interest is part of the tour: The Southside Loop