Like so many Tremont structures, Calvary Pentecostal Church has led many lives. In fact, the roots on its site at the corner of West 14th Street and Starkweather Avenue run about as deep as any church in the neighborhood. In 1865, when the area was still known as University Heights, German immigrants built Emmanuel Evangelical United Bretheren Church. At the time, grand mansions dotted West 14th Street (then Jennings Avenue). Across from the church, what we now know as Lincoln Park was a private fenced-in property. Less than a mile away, a Civil War training camp and hospital were still in operation. No bridges connected the neighborhood with Ohio City or downtown.
Services at the wooden structure were held until 1908, when the present yellow-brick facility was erected. Gothic in nature, the new church’s architectural highlights include large pointed windows with hood moldings and corbel stops (decorative supports) on the front and sides. The entry porches and short steeple are more English in origin.
Services at Emmanuel Evangelical were held almost exclusively in German until World War I. (Interestingly, Cleveland’s Germans did not suffer extensively from anti-German hysteria during and after World War I). By the mid-1930s, Emmanuel Evangelical had more than 300 regular members. Because of a declining German population in the area, the church was sold in 1968 to the Cleveland Baptist Temple. This congregation remained there until 1994 when Calvary Pentecostal Church – known by its predominantly Puerto Rican members as Iglesia Pentecostal El Calvario ("Iglesia" is Spanish for "Church") – purchased the property. That congregation had been located at 4502 Bridge Avenue in Ohio City (now the Metro Alliance Church) since 1978.
Today, Iglesia Pentecostal El Calvario is one of several neighborhood churches that serve the area’s Hispanic population. It is one of seven Churches Assembly Of God In Cleveland. The church also is one of four anchors on a corner with exceptional spiritual beauty. Across Starkweather Avenue and West 14th Street reside two other heavenly gems: Pilgrim Congregational Church and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church. And across West 14th to the east, Lincoln Park – sans fences, adorned by a 100-year-old gazebo, and festooned with old sycamore trees – provides its own type of divine radiance.