The Mother Church of Texas

Reedy Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) has been a history maker in many ways. Her origins date back to 1848 when Black slaves were given the land at 20th and Broadway by their white owners for a place of worship. The slaves worshipped outside until a structure was built. Reedy was one of the locations in which General Order #3 was read, announcing the end of slavery in Texas. After the end of slavery, Reedy also served as a school, educating freed men and women. Throughout her history Reedy has endured The Great Fire and numerous hurricanes but still stands. In 1866 following the close of the Civil War the church was organized as an A.M.E. Church. The first church building was destroyed by the great fire of 1885. The 1900 storm also caused severe damage to the structure. Reedy Chapel stands today in all her beauty and majesty as a symbol of liberation, longevity and faithfulness in God. The church is a popular stop for tourist. It also continues to host a Juneteenth celebration that is attended by the community.

Reedy Chapel, the mother church of African Methodism in Texas, grew out of an effort by white slave owners to provide a place of worship for their slaves. The property upon which the church stands was purchased by Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, on March 18, 1848 and given to the slaves.

In 1863, a permanent meeting house was built. In 1885, the first building was destroyed by the great fire of that year, and on its site, in 1886 a new building was constructed. This structure was severely damaged by the 1900 Storm but was completely restored. In 1866, the church and property were deeded to the African Methodist Episcopal Church following the end of the Civil War. Organized as an A.M.E. Church in 1867 by the Rev. M.M. Clark, a black missionary sent from Philadelphia, it received its name later from Rev. Houston Reedy, its second pastor of the church.

The first two annual conferences of the A.M.E. Church were hosted by Reedy. The first in 1867, the second in 1867 and 1868 – the first meeting of Methodist men of color to be conducted by and for African Americans.

Reedy Chapel also houses one of the oldest pipe organs in Texas. The organ was built by the firm of E.&G.G. Hook of Boston as their opus number 647 in the year 1872. Opus 647 was originally built for the Trinity Episcopal Church of Galveston and was moved to Reedy about 1930. The ornate organ, with its 800 pipes and 15 independent stops, has been restored to its original splendor. The original mechanical action and wind system have been preserved, including the hand pumping feeders. There are only two organs of this type in the United States; the other is located at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

Reedy Chapel has received the Texas Historical Marker, the Historical Medallion, and is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.