Union Baptist Church has been standing on its present site at 56 Eighth St. for more than 120 years, but its beginning started well before that. The congregation may have begun in 1836 since there is a picture with that date on it.
Over the years many records have been lost and poor record keeping contributed to lapses in the church’s history. We do know that Zion Baptist Church was incorporated on Feb. 4, 1859, and the first meeting was held in Nevitt and Dixon’s Hall on the northwest corner of Main and Seventh streets on March 5, 1859.
Twenty-seven members were listed as members of the congregation. In June of that year, a one story frame building was purchased for $300. The site was close to the Blandy Machine Works on Underwood Street.
By January 1863, the congregation had outgrown this building and once again met in the Nevitt Dixon building until a lot could be purchased to build a new church. In the meantime, the Third Baptist Church was organized in the old brick schoolhouse on Moxahala Avenue.
The Zion Baptists purchased a site in August 1866, at 35 Eighth St. and a one-story frame building was erected for a cost of $800. Members of the Third Baptists erected their own one-story frame on Moxahala Avenue between Harrison and Pierce streets in 1870.
It was later that year that the two congregations came together to form the Union Baptist Church. The structure on Moxahala Avenue was sold and the proceeds went to the Union Baptist treasury.
The merger of the two churches made the existing building on Eighth Street too small to accommodate the growing congregation. A new one-story frame building, 34 by 49 feet, was built on the site at a cost of $1,500. It was dedicated on May 5, 1872.
By 1893, the congregation had once again outgrown its building. This time the beautiful 35 by 60 feet two-story brick building that stands today was erected. A Sunday School has been maintained since the beginning of the two original churches.
The only black Baptist church in Zanesville is recorded on city records as an historical site. The sanctuary features beautiful stained glass windows and the one above the entrance is a particularly outstanding feature of the church.
Source: Zanesville Times Recorder | Sis Bowman