Wiley Memorial United Methodist Church
500 Lookout Street
Located at 500 Lookout Street,
has stood as a landmark in downtown
for nearly 120 years. Before the current structure was built, a building referred to as the “pepperbox” church stood on the site. During the battles of
the “pepperbox” church served the Confederacy as a hospital and prison, and later was used as a prison by the Union Army. The church sustained such significant structural damage during the war that it was sold in 1867 to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Under the direction of a Rev. Houston, a small group of black Chattanoogans established the first organized African-American congregation in
. The foundation of the current structure was begun in 1886 and the cornerstone was laid in 1887. Significant to the church’s history is its 1901 pipe organ, as it is thought to be the first pipe organ installed in an African-American parish. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.