St. John's African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) was built in 1891. The building served an active congregation until about 1990. Age had deteriorated the building to some extent, especially the floor which was built over a basement.
The City of Washington considered requiring the building's demolition. The Washington Historical Society purchased the building in 2004 and building and grounds committee members (and other society members) began an extensive rehabilitation.
Restoration include removing the floor and filling in the basement with rock and concrete. Walls and ceilings were insulated, new electrical service and plumbing were installed. The roof was repaired and an added wood structure was removed. Tuckpointing, brick replacement and painting were done.
After months of hard labor, the restoration was complete and the building was ready for archiving the Franklin County paper records that had been headed for the landfill. Shelving, and the records, were moved from several locations where they had been stored and placed in the building.