Sidney Park Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (formerly known as Sidney Park Colored Methodist Episcopal Church) was established in 1886. The church is an important part of the African American experience in Columbia, South Carolina , as well as an example of late Gothic Revival church architecture.
The founding members of the church were originally members of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. A disagreement occurred in within Bethel A.M.E. in the 1880s as a result of the disagreement, six hundred members left to start Sidney Park C.M.E. Church. They began holding services at Stenhouse Hall, now as Oliver Gospel Mission.
In November of 1886, the group incorporated as the Colored Methodist Episcopal denomination and started looking for a new house of worship. With free labor and materials provided by the congregation, a wood frame church was completed in 1889 at the corner of Assembly and Blanding Streets. This building burned down between the years of 1890 and 1892.
The present church, of the same design, was built in 1893 of brick construction. Sidney Park C.M.E. Church has the only set of octagonal towers in Columbia. The tower to the east is topped by an octagonal steeple; the tower to the west has an octagonal steeple has a circular cap covering accentuating its point. These and other Gothic influences such as the lancet windows and pointed arches throughout, the wall buttresses, and the heavy timber truss system found in the sanctuary, help illustrate the buildings architectural significance.
The congregation has a long history of involvement with civil rights activity and connection with the NAACP, who held regular meetings in the former parsonage of the church (presently the Dr. Walker E. Solomon Administration Building) until 2015.