Heritage Fund In Action: Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Ellicott City

09/07/2016
By Margaret De Arcangelis

Perched on hillside outside downtown Ellicott City is Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, a historic African American church constructed in 1890. It was the recent recipient of a Heritage Fund Grant that helped rehabilitate its historic roof.

Throughout the years, Mt. Zion served as a central meeting place for descendants of slaves who lived along Fells Lane, New Cut Road, and Main Street. Mt. Zion is one of five remaining historically black Methodist Episcopal churches in Howard County, Maryland, that is more than one hundred years old.

Mt Zion, courtesy Daniel Humphries-Russ (http://bakerartist.org/nominations/view/djhruss/)

Mt. Zion Church, photo by Daniel Humphries-Russ.

In October 2014, Mt. Zion received a Heritage Fund grant from Preservation Maryland to assist with the cost of a new roof and to help ensure that this church is around to serve its congregation and the community for many years to come.  Due to the location of the church and the pitch of the roof, this was not going to be your run of the mill roof project.  After a few hurdles and bumps in the road, a crew from E.R. Roofing in Monrovia, MD started work on the new roof and gutters in mid-July.

The project was completed just a few days before the Ellicott City flood on July 30, and according to Tyrone Tyler, a church member overseeing the project, the “new gutters were a big help.” 

Heritage Fund check presentation at Mt. Zion, 2014.

Heritage Fund check presentation at Mt. Zion, 2014.

Since the 1960s, the local community has been dedicated to the preservation of Ellicott City’s eighteenth and nineteenth-century history, ensuring the survival of this town’s rich past. The preservation of Mt. Zion will allow Ellicott City’s black community to continue using the building for both religious space and celebrating African American heritage.

The Heritage Fund program is supported by Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust to provide direct assistance for the protection of historical and cultural resources and promotes innovative demonstration projects that can be successfully replicated to meet Maryland’s historic preservation needs. The Fund is intended to serve the needs of tangible cultural resources in Maryland. Historic sites, buildings, districts, objects, and archaeological resources are all eligible for funding. Learn more here: presmd.org/hf.

Margaret De Arcangelis · Preservation Services Director

Margaret De Arcangelis is a former Preservation Services Director at Preservation Maryland.

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