Christ Church And Burial Ground
“No other church has played a more significant role in our nation’s birth”, according to historian David McCullough. Christ Church was founded in 1695 as a condition of William Penn’s Charter. The current building dates to 1744, and has been cited as “our finest Early American church.” Its steeple (1754) is the work of Robert Smith, one of America’s earliest architects; Thomas U. Walter, later architect of the U.S. Capitol, redesigned the interior of the sanctuary (1832-36). At Christ Church, 25% of Philadelphia’s free and enslaved Africans were baptized, a school was created to educate slaves, and the first black priest, Absalom Jones, was ordained. During the Revolutionary Era, Christ Church welcomed the Continental Congresses. Benjamin and Deborah Franklin and Betsy Ross were parishioners. Later, George Washington and John Adams attended services while they were the nation’s Chief Executives. Here, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States was created from the ashes of the Church of England. Christ Church is a privately managed historic site that is an official component of Independence National Historical Park (INHP).