Avery Chapel AME Church. An AME Church was built by 1906 at the northeast corner of North Stiles and NE 1st, as evidenced by Sanborn Map Company's 1906 Insurance Map, a crop of which is shown below. According to a Metropolitan Library System article by Mr. Larry Johnson, its facility at the northwest corner of NE 1st & Geary was built in 1907. Note: for articles linked to the MLS website, you may have to press F5 (refresh) after clicking the link to load the article.

The church's spire is visible in the background of the some of the aerial Deep Deuce photos. According to Mr. Johnson's article, Ralph Waldo Ellison lived in its parsonage with his mother for a time.

Having closely reviewed Oklahoman archive reports as well as other written sources, it is evident that Avery Chapel AME church was at least the social peer of Calvary Baptist prior to the civil rights activities in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Oklahoman articles included below show a vital activity and interest well beyond purely religious activies and that it was a pioneer in social and racial issues. Within the black community, it would be no surprise to learn that this church may have been perceived as the most prestigious Deep Deuce Church of them all. But, that's just a guess. As well, a delightful article concering a minister's rapproachment with his wife is also included, just for fun.
1949 Sanborn Map

Avery Chapel is one of the earliest church congregations in Oklahoma City, dating to August 1889, only three months after the Land Run! Sanborn Maps prior to 1906 did not show property east of Walnut so I don't know when the location shown in the 1906 map began. As said above, Mr. Johnson reports that Avery moved to the east end of the same block in 1907. By the next sequential Sanborn map, 1922, its former property had become Howard Metropolitan CME Church (later to be Cleaves).
1906 Sanborn Map (click for larger)

1922 Sanborn Map (click for larger)

October 30, 1906

January 2, 1909

April 8, 1920

I included the little story at left just because I thought it was cute. Ain't love grand?

Avery Chapel purchased its existing church facilities at 1425 N. Kelham in 1957, as shown by the article at the right, which is where the church remains today. Ironically, after the 1957 sale but before the move, Kelham Avenue Baptist was the only white church out of 20 to turn away black children during a 1958 church walk-in (2 others allowed entry but seated the youths in segregated areas). I say again, "Ain't love grand?" Click here to read the August 25, 1958, Oklahoman article describing what happened. In 1959, Avery Chapel moved into this same building.

An August 30, 2008, Oklahoman article reported that on August 31 the church would celebrate its 119th anniversary, dating this church to August 1889 and making it one of the oldest surviving church congegrations in Oklahoma City.
August 4, 1957

A Microsoft Map aerial view of the present church follows the historic photos below. The pair of historic photos are credited to the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Library System. In order, they were taken in 1941 and 1943.

Avery Chapel Today on Kelham Avenue

This is one of 6 churches presently covered in the Deep Deuce area of the Vintage Map. Use the links below to rotate between them, if you wish. The others are . . .

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