Monday, May 16, 2016

History and photos of Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church

Over the several years I’ve now lived in the area, I’ve passed an old church on Route 50 in Loudoun County many times and always wondered about it. Typically, I was en route to somewhere else and didn’t have time to stop.

It wasn’t until last year I stopped the first time to at least get its name and I learned it was Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church. I was out that way again at the end of March of this year and stopped to try to learn more about this intriguing site. The church was closed, but I was able to walk around, take some photos and read the signage.

Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church, Civil War, Aldie Virginia
Exterior shot of Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church (March 2016)

History of Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church

The Mt. Zion Old School Baptist church was built in 1851. The crossroads the church was built on was a main thoroughfare which included an old road “Old Carolina Road” (which I need to look up, I’m not familiar with this main road).  
The church also has a long history. According to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, who operates the site, the church was “an eyewitness” to much history that took place in Northern Virginia, most notably the Civil War, and saw a lot of “action”. This action included being used as a rendezvous site for Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby’s troops, battleground, military barracks and field hospital. 

Peeking through a window, I took this shot

Mt. Zion Cemetery 

The first burial at Mt. Zion Cemetery took place in 1852. There is also a cemetery on the grounds which contains close to 250 marked headstones and many unmarked graves. 

Mt. Zion Cemetery

NVRPA states on its website there are also at least 60 African American graves outside the cemetery wall, two have inscribed markers, according to a sign located at the site. There is also a War of 1812 veteran buried on the grounds and 13 Confederate soldiers. There are 12 markers to honor Union soldiers that died during the Battle of Mt. Zion in July 1864.  I found a list of transcriptions from the tombstones on the Genealogy Trails website.

Another photo of the cemetery.

Restored and preserved

After the war was over, the building was once again a church and Mt. Zion was an active congregation until 1980, meeting once per month until its population became too small. According to signage at the site, the church was restored in 2007-08 and is now a historic site opened for tours and also for special events. In 2009 ownership was transferred from Loudoun County to NVPRA.

I’d love to take a proper tour sometime. NVPRA is seasonally open for guided tours on the fourth Sunday each month from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (or by appointment) from April to October. Admission fee is $2 per person.

Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church is located at 40309 John Mosby Highway, Aldie, Va. 
Another view of the interior of Mt. Zion Old School Baptist Church

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