Quinn Chapel AME Church, also known as Quinn Chapel of the A.M.E. Church, houses Chicago's oldest African-American congregation, formed by seven individuals as a nondenominationalprayer group that met in the house of a member in 1844. In 1847, the group organized as a congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent black denomination in the United States. They named the church for Bishop William Paul Quinn.
In the years leading up to the Civil War, the church played an important role in the city's abolitionist movement. The 1871 Great Chicago Fire destroyed the original church. The congregation met for many years in temporary locations before purchasing the present site in 1890. The current structure, designed by architectHenry F. Starbuck and built in 1892 at 2401 South Wabash Avenue, reflects the area's late 19th-century character. The church was designated as a Chicago Landmark August 3, 1977, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places September 4, 1979. Considered architecturally significant, the church is featured in such books as Chicago Churches: A Photographic Essay by Elizabeth Johnson (Uppercase Books Inc, 1999) as well as Chicago Churches and Synagogues: An Architectural Pilgrimage, by George A. Lane (Loyola Press 1982).