Where It All Began

“Without fanfare on October 1, 1922, the Central Office of the China Union Universities opened in a small room approximately fifteen feet square on the fifth floor of the Methodist Building at 150 Fifth Avenue, New York City.” So wrote William P. Fenn, General Secretary of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia from 1941 to 1970, in Ever New Horizons: The Story of The United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia 1922–1975.

The first home of the United Board, the Methodist Building was on the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and 20th Street in a neighborhood known for its religious printing and publishing houses, missionary society offices, and church headquarters.

The eight-storey Romanesque Revival-style building was designed by Edward Hale Kendall and completed in 1890. Another three floors were added in 1909. By 1926, the United Board’s expanded operation required it to move to larger quarters on the eighth floor, and later to the ninth floor.

Today, the building is the technology headquarters of Mastercard.