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Arch Street Meeting House - National Fund For Sacred Places
2022 Cohort

Arch Street Meeting House

(Quaker Religious Society of Friends)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Arch Street Meeting House is the largest active place of Quaker worship in the United States and the “mothership” of Quaker meeting houses to thousands of Quakers throughout Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Arch Street Meeting House courtesy Arch Street Meeting House

Arch Street Meeting House courtesy Arch Street Meeting House

2022 Cohort

Arch Street Meeting House

(Quaker Religious Society of Friends)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Arch Street Meeting House is the largest active place of Quaker worship in the United States and the “mothership” of meeting houses to thousands of Quakers throughout Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Quakers have used this site continuously since 1682 and erected the current Georgian-style meeting house in 1803. Famed Quaker master-builder Owen Biddle Jr., the author of one of the first circulated books on American architecture, designed the building, which local craftsmen constructed with simple materials to embody the ideals of Quakerism. Still, for its relative grandeur, noted Philadelphia Quaker and abolitionist George Vaux called Arch Street the “Westminster Abbey of Quakerism.” The Quakers of Arch Street were among the founders of Philadelphia and the United States and were leaders in numerous social movements, including abolition and suffrage.

Today, Arch Street remains one of the largest Quaker meeting houses in the world and is home to the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting, and the Monthly Meeting of Friends of Philadelphia. Local community, arts, and social justice groups regularly utilize space in the meeting house, and over 45,000 tourists and students visit this National Historic Landmark each year through collaboration with Historic Philadelphia.

A National Fund grant of $150,000 with $300,000 in matching funds raised by the congregation will allow Arch Street to install a fire suppression system that will service the entire meeting house, including the museum galleries, historic worship space, office space, and maintenance areas. This work will allow Arch Street to engage higher numbers of visitors safely, host additional programming, and demonstrate best practices for fire prevention at a nationally significant historic site.

Arch Street Meeting House by S. Connoly

Arch Street Meeting House by Eddie Einbender-Luks

Stories and Media Coverage

Read more about how the National Fund for Sacred Places is helping congregations around the country rehabilitate their sacred places.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church by Luis P. Gutierrez