Founded as a "Free Church" then "Sanford Street Church" in the 1840s, the St. John’s Congregational Church is one of the oldest active Black New England churches. Abolitionist John Brown was a member of the church and he along with other church members would help fugitive slaves escape, their actions helped Springfield become a major stop on the Underground Railroad. Church members also fought for Civil Rights, including Rev. Dr. Charles E. Cobb who successfully made the Springfield school Board end its ban on hiring qualified black teachers in 1956. A bible owned by John Brown is on display at the church.