LANDMARKS - Churches
Shearn Methodist Episcopal Church
The Allen brothers deeded land to the Reverend Mr. Littleton Fowler, the Methodist pioneer minister who served as chaplain to the Senate of the Republic of Texas. In 1844, the first church, a Methodist Episcopal, was built on that site. In 1867, the original church was replaced by a new one with a new name, Shearn Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1883, yet another building replaced the 1867 structure and was renamed the Charles Shearn Memorial Church. Because of the rapid business growth in the area, the parish decided that the location was not suitable for a church any more, sold the land in 1907, and in 1910 built a new church at Main and Clay, where it still stands today, renamed the First United Methodist Church.
Church of Annunciation
In 1866 the bishop of Galveston, Claude M. Dubuis, and Father Joseph Querat realized that a church larger than St. Vincent's, the first Catholic church in Houston, was needed for the increasing number of Catholics. For the new church the bishop purchased from Peter W. Gray the half block at Texas and Crawford streets for $2,000; the brick to be used in the construction was purchased from the old courthouse. Nicholas J. Clayton designed the structure, using the Gothic forms of European cathedrals suggested by Father Querat. Designed in Romanesque style and was made of limestone and cement plaster with brown trim. Inside the church are marble alters, statues and stained glass windows; a fresco decorates the sanctuary dome.
In March 1869 Querat presented the plans to the parishioners, who chose the name Church of the Annunciation. The cornerstone was laid the following month, and two years later, on September 10, 1871, the church was dedicated. In 1878 St. Vincent's Church closed.
Today the Church of Annunciation (also known as the Annunciation Church), is still located at the corner of Texas Avenue and Crawford and is the oldest existing church building in the city.
Anitoch Missionary Baptist Church
Standing in the shadow of the sprawling Allen Center complex on Robin Street is the Anitoch Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest black church in the city. It was founded in 1875 by freed slaves, with the Reverend Mr. Jack Yates as its first pastor. Dr. Benjamin Covington, one of the earliest black physicians in Houston, was a parishioner of this church.
Christ Episcopal Church
Christ Episcopal Church, the oldest congregation in Houston, organized in 1839, is located at the Christ Church Cathedral at the corner of Texas Avenue and Fannin. Built in 1893, the cathedral was designed by Silas Mcbeen in the style of the medieval Gothic architecture; it features exquisite stained glass windows. The church walls are covered with ivy, brought from the walls of the Westminister Abby in England.