Mount Zion First African Baptist Church

Following the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, 800 African-American churchgoers who worshiped in the balcony of the white First Baptist Church of Charlottesville on Park Avenue petitioned to form their own congregation. They began to meet in the basement of the old Delevan Hotel and became the Delevan Baptist Church (known today as First Baptist Church) in 1864. Certain members of this new congregation were dissatisfied with the presence of a white minister at the church. They therefore decided to separate and assumed payments on a lot at 105 Ridge St. previously contracted for purchase by the Delevan Church. This new Church became the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church in 1867. The 1884 Mount Zion Baptist Church building located at 105 Ridge Street was designed by George Wallace Spooner. Spooner participated in the rebuilding of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia following its fire. The contractor for the church was A. G. Wallace. The new church building is located at 105 Lankford Avenue.