The Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded in 1787, originally had a tunnel beneath it that led to the bank of the Wasbash River for escaped slaves en route to Canada on the Underground Railroad.
Many of its early members were freed slaves brought to the area by Quakers.
The Tudor Gothic Revival building was designed by noted African-American architect William Sidney Pittman, son-in-law of Booker T. Washington. When the church was completed in 1914, it sat 1,350 people.
It was named after Richard Allen, a former slave and African-American minister who was the first bishop of the African-American Methodist Episcopal Church.
Built at a cost of $20,000 it is the oldest and largest African Methodist Episcopal church in Fort Worth.
The church established the first private schools for African-Americans. A pipe organ was installed in 1923. In 2011 lightning hit the church's bell tower causing extensive damage and forced its removal.
The tower has yet to be replaced, and is one of the reasons the building lands at the top of Historic Fort Worth’s 2023 “Most Endangered Places” list.
The church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 18, 1984.
In spite of the Allen Chapel’s historic status both within the state and on the national register, the congregation lacks the funds to replace the bell tower and complete additional restoration projects.