Olivet African Methodist Episcopal Church

15) Olivet African Methodist Episcopal Church

719 N. Notre Dame Ave.

In 1870, Olivet African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) became the first African American church founded in South Bend. Olivet was formally organized by the Rev. J. Bundy, the first pastor, and nine charter members: Mr. and Mrs. Farrow Powell, Mr. and Mrs. James Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Bridgeman, James Hurst, J. B. Lott and John Powell. Meetings were held in various homes and then in the old Lafayette School. The church was originally located on the west side at 310 W. Monroe St. The second site was erected in 1916-17 during the administration of the Rev. C. Emery Allen. Joseph Haithcox (“a Negro”) was the contractor. It was also a center for social, political, religious and civic life. It was known as the “Colored Church” until other denominations organized churches. The present site, on Notre Dame Avenue, was acquired in 1969.