Historic Treasure: Mt. Zion Baptist Church

Mount Zion Baptist Church is a survivor. Twice in its history, the Greenwood community, better known as “Black Wall Street,” has lost significant structures. In 1921, the Tulsa Race Riot wiped out most of the buildings in Greenwood. New buildings were constructed to replace them, but many of these were demolished as part of the post-1970s “Urban Renewal” effort, according to the Tulsa Preservation Commission’s website.

According to the church’s website, Mount Zion organized in 1909, holding services in a one-room frame schoolhouse. A few years later, the congregation moved into the Woods Building and then to a frame structure called “Tabernacle.”

The congregation’s first permanent building was finished in April 1921 at a cost of $92,000. The members still owed $50,000 on the church when it was destroyed in the riot two months later. Although their insurance policy did not cover the damage, the congregation insisted on paying off the debt before finally laying the cornerstone for a new building in 1948. The building was dedicated in 1952 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 as a rare survivor from the post-riot reconstruction period.

Mt. Zion is located at 419 N. Elgin. To get there from The Campbell Hotel, take 11th Street west to Peoria Avenue. Turn right and follow Peoria north to Admiral Boulevard. Turn left on Admiral, merge onto 1st Place/East 43rd Street North, then turn right on Elgin. The church will be on your right, just past Highway 412.

Interested in exploring the rest of Tulsa’s National Register properties? There are more than 50 of them, including the beautiful Campbell Hotel. Why not spend a weekend here, soaking up history while taking advantage of our modern conveniences — including our free business center, which is perfect for researching historic buildings and printing out maps to help you in your explorations.

To book your room, call (918) 744-5500 or visit

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