Mount Zion Baptist Church

Mount Zion Baptist Church was established in 1872 in Athens County, Ohio. It is significant as representing a major building standing in the city of Athens that is associated with its black community.

In the mid to late 19th century, there was a large percentage of blacks living in Athens County. As a result, two churches evolved in Athens: the Mount Zion Baptist Church and The African Methodist Episcopal Church. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was phased out in the early 1900s and many members joined Mount Zion.

The present building was preceded by a frame structure built in 1876. In 1905, the cornerstone was laid at the corner of Congress and Carpenter Streets, a prominent location in Athens. The church was dedicated in 1909, much of the construction having been done by the church members. Architecturally, the church reflects the effort expended by the parishioners and the important role religion played in their lives. Little alteration has been undertaken, the church is visually the same as it was when it was constructed.

The congregation began with only a few members and once boasted 300. Around World War II, the population of blacks in Athens declined due to economic factors.

The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 3, 1980.


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