Created By: Just Places Lab
116 Cleveland Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850
St. James AME Zion Church is a historic African Methodist Episcopal Zion church that was built in 1833. It is the oldest church in Ithaca, and it is believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad - a network of secret routes and safe houses for people escaping enslavement to use as they traveled to Canada. Impressed by the church's abolitionist work and anti-slavery sentiment, most formerly enslaved people decided to settle in Ithaca. The church also served as an enlistment site during the Civil War for Black soldiers. Since then, it has grown into a strong community anchor with its outreach programs and social events. In collaboration with Historic Ithaca, church members and local city residents have worked to preserve and repair the church. The physical St. James building represents the power of maintenance, upkeep, and historic preservation to preserve history in place.
Visit the church’s website to learn more about its history and current capital restoration campaign.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Waste(d) Imagination Tour