Mayor Jenny A. Durkan signed the landmark designation ordinance for Mount Zion Baptist Church located at 1634 Rev. Dr. S. McKinney Avenue. This new landmark joins more than 400 landmarks in the city that are recognized for their contributions to Seattle’s rich cultural and architectural heritage.
“Mt. Zion Baptist Church has been a place for community and worship for 128 years and a civic fixture with a strong legacy of championing civil rights,” said Mayor Durkan. “For generations to come, Mt. Zion will be a landmark of our great city, and will continue to be a beacon for love, community, and justice.”
“Mount Zion is a second home to many in our African American community. The cornerstone of the Mount Zion church family is self-help, the empowerment of people, and reinforcing the community spiritually, educationally, socially, and politically – it is a place of hope and camaraderie for positive change,” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “Mount Zion is the bedrock of the Central District and represents culture, history, and meaning to so many in our community. Mt. Zion’s door is open to all and a place where all families can call a second home.”
The Landmarks Preservation Board designated this property on October 18, 2017 based on all six designation standards making it one of four city landmarks honored with this distinction. The Board also recognized the Mount Zion Baptist Church’s more than 100-year legacy on this site and its continued service to the Seattle community for more than 125 years. The landmark was nominated by a group from Mount Zion led by Reverend Dr. Phyllis Beaumonte.
“With Mount Zion Baptist Church’s status as a Seattle Historic Landmark comes the assurance that the legacy of faith, love, hope, and justice, which began 128 years ago, will continue,” said Rev. Dr. Beaumonte.
Reverend Dr. Samuel B. McKinney served as pastor at Mount Zion for more than four decades and was the visionary for the Educational Wing (1962) and the Church building (1975); both buildings remain today. The Fellowship Hall hosted thousands of educational programs and city events and has historically been a meeting place for civil rights activists, clergy, local leaders, and members of the community. The church’s distinct design was the product of Reverend Dr. McKinney’s vision to create a place of worship that reflected African heritage through its structural form and architectural vocabulary. His design was a collaboration with local architectural firm Durham, Anderson & Freed.
As a designated City landmark, the Mount Zion Baptist Church is not only recognized for its historic and cultural significance, but also becomes eligible for economic incentives and technical assistance for the continued preservation of the landmark.
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation Program is responsible for the designation and protection of more than 400 historic structures, sites, objects, and vessels, as well as eight historic districts located throughout the city. For more information on the landmark designation process and to view other city landmarks, visit seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation.