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The church at the corner of Westmoreland Drive and Bentley Street has stood for nearly a century in what was once “Black Bottom,” part of the African American neighborhood of Parramore. Its first congregation, the Pleasant Hill Colored Methodist Episcopal Church which originated in 1916, held concerts and entertainments to raise money needed for construction. They laid the church cornerstone in 1927 and changed their name to Carter Tabernacle Colored Methodist Church.
One member recalled the women of the church holding lanterns for the men working on the church construction in the dark after their day’s work on their regular jobs. Like Carter Tabernacle CME, many black congregations raised funds to build their own church structure and physically constructed the building themselves. Once built, the churches would serve as the religious entity, community meeting center, and school for the local African American community.
By 1935 the congregation numbered about three hundred and in 1945 the church added a Sunday School Annex. In 1976, the Carter Tabernacle congregation left Parramore for a new church in Washington Shores and a later congregation gave it the name Black Bottom House of Prayer in respect to the building’s past. The masonry vernacular architecture is enhanced with Gothic Revival elements such as the bell tower, gothic pointed vents, closed buttresses, and long narrow glass windows.