Why is this building significant?
Also known simply as Mother Zion, this church houses the City’s oldest African American congregation, established in 1796. It was founded by Black members of the John Street Methodist Church, which, although it had functioned as a stop along the Underground Railroad and counted Sojourner Truth among its congregants, segregated its worship services. This Neo-Gothic church was designed by one of the first African American architects in the country. Rejecting a traditional cruciform layout, he designed the church in an auditorium configuration, following a then-popular trend in Protestant church architecture.
What did the New York Landmarks Conservancy do?
We helped the church establish restoration priorities. We gave $8,000 to fund a scope-of-work study to fix leaky aisle roofs, a $30,000 grant towards roof restoration, and helped secure private donor support. We also assisted in securing Landmarks Preservation Commission permit approval for roof repair.