Mount Zion Baptist Church evokes the struggle by Charlottesville’s African Americans to establish a viable community in the city following emancipation. Black Americans required institutions that were truly their own, and the churches filled that need by serving not only as houses of worship but as social centers, theaters, and meeting places dealing with the affairs of the black community. The Mount Zion congregation was organized in 1867 and met in private houses until a Ridge Street house was donated to serve as a permanent home. It was replaced by a wooden church in 1875. The congregation outgrew the building and replaced it with the present brick structure in 1884. Embellished in the 1890s with its steeple, stained-glass windows, and pipe organ, the church became a symbol of the growing importance of Charlottesville’s black community. Local tradition assigns its design to George Wallace Spooner, a local architect. The Mount Zion Baptist Church contributes to the downtown West Main Street Historic District.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark