On Friday January 18th, Mt. Zion Baptist Church is hosting a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. from noon to 1:30 PM. Just to be clear: the event is at 19th and Madison.
It’s not happening at 11th and Union, Mt. Zion’s first church. Since it’s been almost a century, maybe that clarification wasn’t really necessary. But it gives us a good reason to explore the forgotten old house of prayer.
The first African American church in Pike/Pine was First African Methodist Episcopal (First A.M.E.). They began holding service at 14th and Pike in 1890. Mt. Zion got started in 1896, and for the first decade rented a few different spaces downtown. They bought their own property and moved into Pike/Pine in 1906.
Of course that’s before it was known as Pike/Pine. After the Pike regrade, but before the Pine regrade. (Read about it in CHS Re:Take #9.) More importantly, it was before the 12th Avenue regrade raised this whole area. (You must read CHS Re:Take #10.)
This photo shows old neighborhood height. This parking lot replaced the buildings next to Mt. Zion. West side of 11th.
Mt. Zion raised their building and added a floor, but they were never happy with the results. Finally in 1920 they bought the larger property we know on the southeast corner of 19th and Madison. At the time the Seattle Republican reported that “The old church site the members sold because it was too damp and cold and bought a site that has more light and greater room to make a fight.”
This image from the Seattle Times is the only view available online of the original scene. Washington State Historical Society has a photograph of the church elders in front of the door at the time of the 1920 sale. The UW has a photo of the house to the right which has a sliver view of the edge of Mt. Zion.
The garage that replaced it has serving workmanlike since 1920. But as you’ve been reading in CHS, the view is about to change once more.
Catch up on Re:Takes
Head over to Flickr to see a larger view of the Mt. Zion rephotography blend.