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The Gainsboro History Project

Mount Zion AME Church

Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church was formerly located at the intersection of Gainsboro Road and Rutherford Avenue, at the heart of Gainsboro, where it served community residents for over 90 years.

The congregation was organized by Harriet Carter, Mike Traynham, William Traynham, Pauline Traynham, and Thomas Standfiled with the assistance of Elder Lloyd, pastor of Bethel A.M.E. church in Salem, Virginia. For about five years they worshiped in a schoolhouse on Shenandoah Avenue, west of the Norfolk and Western offices, and in High Street Baptist Church.

Old photo of Mt. Zion AME
Mt. Zion AME Church. Courtesy of Roanoke Public Libraries

In 1883 the congregation purchased land from St. Andrews Catholic Church on the north side of Catholic Hill and in 1887 the first church building was constructed. The congregation grew quickly, and in 1889 Mt. Zion A.M.E. purchased a new site at Gainsboro Road and Rutherford Avenue from Mr. & Mrs. H. S. Trout. Here they constructed a brick church which was the congregation’s home for over 90 years.

Responding to continued growth, a new, larger church was built at 2128 Melrose Avenue. This move was overseen by Rev. J.W. Williams Jr. who held the first services in the new building in 1971.

Previous Pastors of Mount Zion include:

  • Steven Ricks
  • J.H. Scott
  • Jeremiah Cuffey
  • George Mussington
  • W.R. Gulins
  • T.R. Sinkfield
  • Jacquline Strange
  • J.B. Tynes
  • C.R. Saunders
  • A.J. Nottingham
  • J.W. Saunders
  • George W. Taylor
  • James S. Hatcher
  • D.B. Thorpe
  • P.S. Mosely
  • T.L. Scott
  • W.B. Nash
  • Paul M. Caldwell
  • H.L. Camper
  • H.L. James
  • J.W. Williams
  • J.C. Fautleroy
  • D.P. Felton
  • T.R. Spencer
  • Robert L. Goode
  • Gary N. Curtis
  • Frank W. Saunders
  • Lonnie C. McClain
  • Gilbert Harper
  • Amy Christine Ziglar

See Also


Mt. Zion AME Church. (2007). Black history celebration: Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church. [Program]. Gainsboro Branch Library Vertical Files, Roanoke, VA, United States.

Marcy, J. (2007, February 2). Mount Zion A.M.E. Church celebrates 125 years. The Roanoke Times.