Friendship Pasadena Church
Serving as one of the oldest congregations in Pasadena, Friendship Pasadena Church was founded in September 1893 and stands today as one of Pasadena’s landmark churches. It was the first Negro Baptist Church in the city and for many years had the largest membership of any African American church. Throughout its history, the church has played an important religious and civic role in Pasadena.
The church grew and prospered under the leadership of several ministers until the 1920s, when Reverend W.H. Tillman led the members to acquire a new site on Dayton Street and erect the present edifice, which was designed by Norman F. Marsh in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Its design includes a tower, a bell-gable, a tile roof, and stained-glass windows. Martin Luther King, Jr. made two notable visits to Friendship Church, once in 1960 and again in 1965, solidifying the church’s important role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Friendship Pasadena Church became the first African American-related Cultural Landmark designated in Pasadena. It is also recognized as a State of California landmark and in 1978 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the 1990s, the church underwent a complete renovation and today, still operates as a thriving congregation.