March 24: Epiphany Chapel, SW Washington (1880)
For much of the 19th Century, Epiphany’s parish bounds included the area between 12th and 15th Streets and from K Street down to the Potomac River. Shortly after William Paret became rector in 1876, he concluded that bounds were primarily convenient dividers for charitable work. A parish looked after poor people in the parish bounds. Before the government buildings were built south of the mall, this southern part of the parish was a residential area mostly of low-income families, none of which were coming to Epiphany on G Street, NW. In March of 1880, a new Epiphany mission was opened in a rented house on Maryland Ave, SW. Within a short time, there were weekly worship services, Sunday school, and a sewing school, all with a large attendance.
With the work of the mission soon outgrowing the rented building, it was decided to buy the property and build an adjoining structure. A new red brick chapel seating 300 was completed in the spring of 1882. By the late 1880’s more than half of Epiphany’s confirmations were of people associated with the chapel rather than the church. Due to increasing rail traffic in the neighborhood, Epiphany’s vestry decided to purchase a new lot at the corner of 12th and C Streets, SW to build a new 500-seat chapel and mission house. This endeavor was officially called St. Barnabas’ Chapel, although this name was rarely used. Epiphany Chapel provided a vital ministry in SW Washington until January 1948 when it was finally closed due to the changing neighborhood.