Mount Zion United Methodist Church

The Mount Zion United Methodist Church is one of the oldest Black churches in all of DC.

The establishment of the congregation of the Mount Zion Church dates to 1814, which makes it the oldest Black church in Georgetown and one of the oldest Black churches in the District of Columbia. The establishment of separate Black Methodist churches began in the early 19th century in the Middle Atlantic region, when Black members split from the Methodist church and formed congregations consisting of both freedmen and slaves.

This is true of the early history of Mount Zion, whose members originally formed part of the congregation of the Montgomery Street Methodist Church (now the Dumbarton Avenue Methodist Church). The Black members of this congregation elected to form their own church and on June 3, 1814, purchased property on Mill Street (now 27th Street) from Henry Foxall, a Methodist church leader. The group, known as the Colored Members of the Georgetown Station, erected a church which was variously called "The Ark" and the "Meeting House" until 1844 when it was renamed Mt. Zion. The congregation did not have a Black minister, however, until the Reverend John Brice was appointed in 1864.

The present structure, which was constructed between 1876 and 1884 with the help of members of the congregation, is a brick church with Gothic decorative elements. It has a gable-roof, stained glass lancet windows, and a second floor sanctuary. The visual interest provided by the articulation of the Gothic Revival facade of the church and the scale of the structure make it a contributing element in the Georgetown Historic District.

Mount Zion has been thought to have been a station in the Underground Railroad, and the church records give some credence to this idea. The congregation also sponsored one of the city's first Black schools in 1823.

DC Inventory: June 27, 1974
National Register: July 24, 1975
Within Georgetown Historic District



1334 29th Street, NW