| The Mount Zion church was organized
in 1870 as a mission station. Land was purchased on Jackson Avenue
for $900 on June 25, 1872. Members met in homes until it was built.
They applied for a charter on May 17, 1873. Due to some complications,
it was a couple of years before the first church was completed. It
later hosted the Annual Conference in 1896. School was held in the
lower portion of the building.
That first church was later
destroyed by a hurricane in 1915. The congregation worshipped in
the basement, and then in other facilities (at the corner of Fourth and
Robertson, and at the Second Baptist Church) while the church was rebuilt.
Revs. J.O. and T.A. Brown led in the rebuilding, which took six years.
It was completed under the leadership of Rev. B.J. Reddix, though the school
was not reopened. The church hosted the Annual Conference that year
(1921), led by the Church’s first black bishop, Robert Elijah Jones.
While Rev. William Handy, Sr.
served the church in the 1930s, Protestant ministers began wearing robes.
A class system of leaders also began during his tenure.
Under the leadership of Rev.
Robert F. Harrington in the late 1940s, land at the corner of Louisiana
Avenue and Magnolia Street was purchased for a new larger church.
In the early 1950s, when the
Wesley Church was forced to move, they met with Mt. Zion for a while.
After Mt. Zion’s new church was completed in the summer of 1952 (under
the leadership of Rev. Robert D. Hill), they sold the Jackson Avenue church
to Wesley for their use. Annual Conference was again held in the
newly completed church (dedicated in 1958).
An education and activities
building was constructed in the 1960s under the leadership of Rev. Robert
F. Harrington. Renovations on the building took place in 1998-99.