Cool nineteenth-century Universalist fact

In a comment, Mitchell Santine Gould wrote:

A preacherman with Ubuntu. Wow, that’s even hipper than worshipping The Flying Spaghetti Monster. PS Do you have any quirky and exotic stories about Universalism in the nineteenth century?

Hipper, indeed. I’m glad you noticed! A shame you can’t see my natty five-day-old beard and new hair cut.

OK Mr. Gould — who blogs at — this one’s for you: Walt Whitman, when in Washington, D.C., worshipped in the Universalist parish. (I used to be the pastor of the successor church, and read about him in their archives.)

The young congregation (established 1868) met in the then newly built Masonic Hall (dedicated 1870; demolished, I think; no it isn’t!) at the corner of Ninth and F Sts, NW., Washington. Looking at the photo, think it was the northwest corner.

I don’t know when he worshipped with them, but he had his stroke in 1873, so perhaps before that.

That’s pretty neat, and better than one of those “Hosea Ballou was on a horse” stories.

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Well that’s good news. I can’t visualize it, and the Google Maps satellite image suggests another building; perhaps just a unifying roof. Hubby and I might have to swing past it tomorrow with the digital camera . . . .

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