Bethel History

 Inside Iowa City’s Bethel AME Church, April 2018. — photo by Jav Ducker

Inside Iowa City’s Bethel AME Church, April 2018. — photo by Jav Ducker

Bethel A.M.E. History 

On April 1, 1868, a group of free African Americans in the Iowa City area laid the cornerstone to build a house of worship.  The Iowa City area is known to have been a stop on the underground railroad, and Bethel is proud to be an important part of that history.  City directories from 1892 to 1902 refer to the church as Zion’s AME.  The church is called Bethel after 1906.  On September 27, 2000, Bethel AME-Iowa City received recognition at both the state and federal levels as a national historic site.