543 Atlantic Avenue

c. 1855

This now stucco-covered structure has had many lives. It was originally constructed as the Atlantic Street Baptist Church, a brick building dedicated in 1855. The building was subsequently home to St. Matthew’s English Lutheran Church, the Metropolitan Mission (Independent African Methodist Episcopal Church), the Swedish Baptist Church, the Salvation Army and the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Today it is home to the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Library. This fascinating turnover of cultures and denominations makes this seemingly insignificant building a great example of Brooklyn’s rich religious heritage. In fact, Brooklyn has long been known as the “Borough of Churches” for the many steeples that dot its landscape. Just west of this building, on the north side of the Avenue, note the row of brightly painted commercial buildings with intact storefronts.