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Places of Worship
SITE OF ARLINGTON CHAPEL
Northwest corner of Columbia Pike and South Orme Street
Arlington’s first house of worship, the Chapel of Ease of Arlington Plantation, was near this location. George Washington Parke Custis built it about 1825 for his family, neighbors, and servants. Services were conducted by students from the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria. Union soldiers burned the building at the beginning of the Civil War. The congregation was reestablished after the war when it met in abandoned Federal barracks in this vicinity. The Trinity Episcopal Church, now located at South Wayne Street and Columbia Pike, is the successor congregation.
LOMAX AME ZION CHURCH (1922)
2704 South 24th Road
[Note: AME stands for African Methodist Episcopal.] The Little Zion congregation was organized in 1866 by residents of Freedman’s Village. The congregation purchased this site in 1874. In 1876, T.H. Lomax was elected Bishop of the AME Zion Church and assigned to the Washington, DC, area. The Little Zion Church changed its name to Lomax AME Zion Church shortly after his arrival. Built on the site of earlier churches, the present Gothic Revival style church was begun in 1922 and dedicated in 1927. It is the oldest church in Arlington constructed by a Black congregation and plays a significant role in the Black community of Arlington. The Lomax AME Zion Church is a designated Arlington County Landmark.
MT. OLIVET METHODIST CHURCH
North 16th Street near North Glebe Road
This is Arlington’s oldest church site in continuous use. Land for a Methodist Protestant Meeting House was conveyed in 1855 by William and Ann Marcey and John B. and Cornetia Brown, for whom Brown’s Bend Road (now 16th Street, North) was named. The first church was completed in 1860. During the Civil War Union Troops used the Church as a hospital and subsequently destroyed it. The present structure, erected in 1948-1 949, is the fourth church on the site.
Among those buried in the Mount Olivet cemetery is Sue Landon Vaughan, one of the founders of Decoration Day (now Memorial Day). In Mississippi during April 1865, she began the practice of decorating the graves of Civil War dead, both Confederate and Union.
MT. ZION BAPTIST CHURCH
South 19th Street at South Kenmore Street
Established 1866. As soon as the smoking guns of the Civil War were finally silenced, a group of former slaves banded themselves together in what was then known as Freedmen’s Village, a government reservation in the area of Arlington National Cemetery, and founded a Baptist Church. This Church was named The Old Bell Church. From these humble beginnings in the year 1866, the Mt. Zion Baptist Church was born. It is the oldest of the Black congregations in Arlington. Today it is a magnificent temple, a light shining in the darkness, “A City set on a hill” reaching out to the masses in an attempt to fulfill the works of the Master, “To heal the sick, feed the poor, clothe the naked, comfort the sorrowful and bring deliverance to the captives”.
WALKER CHAPEL AND CEMETERY (1871)
4102 North Glebe Road
Walker Chapel, a small frame country church of the Mount Olivet Circuit, was dedicated at this location on July 18,1876. It was named in honor of the Walker family who donated the Walker Grave Yard as a site for the church. A new frame church was built nearby in 1903 although the original chapel structure continued in use as a Sunday School until its demolition in 1930. The present building dates from 1959. The earliest recorded burial in the adjacent cemetery was that of David Walker, who died in 1848.