County: Cape May County
Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church on Franklin Street in Cape May was built in 1888 and is an important African American Landmark in the Cape May Historic District. The building was the home of a congregation who left the Cape Island Methodist Church and moved into a former church on Franklin Street in 1845 before building the current building.
Within two square blocks flanked by Lafayette and Washington Streets, stand the city’s civic institutions, several churches, and the center of the historic African American community: Allen AME Church, the Franklin Street School which served black elementary school children from 1928-1948, the former Franklin Street Methodist Church, now a condominium complex, and Macedonia Baptist Church.
Over the years the AME Church has served as an advocate for educating the black community, setting up schools, providing college support, and supporting members of its own community in need. The reduction of the congregation in the 20th century mirrored the decline of the African American community in Cape May, and by 2018 it was down to less than a dozen members.
An accidental fire occurred to the entrance tower in 2018 when a truck brought down power lines on the building. The remaining members of the church did not have the resources to repair the damage. The tower was removed and a benefactor paid to have the tower opening and roof covered. But the tarp has now failed putting the building at risk. The City has expressed interest in acquiring the building and restoring it as a historic site. Preservation New Jersey encourages the City to move with all due speed to do so, to secure the structure as soon as possible and to restore it utilizing historic preservation grants and donated funds.
Greater Cape May Historical Society