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Somerset Place Driving Tour

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This is a contributing entry for Somerset Place Driving Tour and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
  • Turn around when possible. Proceed straight from St. David’s Church for 0.4 miles. At the stop sign, turn left onto 6th Street. After 0.2 miles, St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church will be on your left at the intersection of 6th Street and Palmetto Street. The church was founded by formerly enslaved persons from Somerset Place, as was St. John Missionary Baptist Church, which is located at the western edge of town.
  • On February 14, 1874, Washington and Jenny Harvey Bennett, who had been formerly enslaved at Somerset Place, gave the founding trustees of St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church one-and-one-third acres of land. The first building was completed in 1876, while the current building was constructed in the 1970s.

St. Mark A.M.E. Zion Church

Cloud, Sky, Plant, Building

St. John Missionary Baptist Church

Cloud, Sky, Building, Plant

The following quote provides architectural details about the existing church building: “This front-gable cinder block church, built over a six-year period in the 1970s, has a brick-veneered front-gable vestibule incorporating an entrance and bathrooms. Decoration ranges from the grand - a giant stone cross over the plate glass and metal double-door entrance - to, in the case of the tiny fiberglass steeple on the roof, the miniscule. A number of salvaged elements from the older church on site, such as stained glass Queen Anne style windows, the old church bell, and even the former building's marble cornerstone, have been either incorporated into the present building or on the site.”1

Dorothy Spruill Redford, “Looks Just Like Me” (Somerset Place Foundation, 1996).

1 Penne Smith Simdbeck, “Creswell Historic District” (National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination Form, Williamsburg, April 1, 2001), 31.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Somerset Place State Historic Site

Somerset Place State Historic Site