St. John A.M.E. Church was established in Frankfort in 1839, though the present church was built in 1893, designed by Professor Moses Davis, an instructor of mechanical art at the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute, now Kentucky State University.
The pastor of the church was the brick-mason. The early members of this African Methodist Episcopal congregation wanted to beautify it to give glory to the Lord. The richly colored Cathedral of art stained glass windows were installed between 1912 and 1917. One of the windows, inscribed “Foreigners and Strangers,” was donated by the pastor at that time, Rev. Dixie C. Carter, through his personal solicitations among the unchurched to emphasize the interest of the church in all mankind.
Although vandals shot at the windows with BB guns, the windows didn’t shatter. Church members raised funds to place protective plexiglass on the outside of the windows, but several holes are still visible. In the 1980’s the building shifted and started to pull apart. Once again members demonstrated their commitment to the church by raising money to have an architect and engineers install bars to stabilize the building, preserving the original stained glass windows and the frieze of bullrushes, which decorates the ceiling.