George Kramer designed this distinctive green edifice, situated at the corner of East 100th Street and Euclid Avenue, abutting the Cleveland Clinic campus, with the facility’s windows and substantial interior woodwork undertaken by J.R. Lamb Studios.
Congregational membership exceeded 2,000 for a time in the late 1920s, but has declined through the present day, as suburbanization and the continuing growth of the surrounding Cleveland Clinic have reduced the number of local resident families, and increased the commute for others.
The East Mount Zion Baptist congregation had first formed in the 1890s, when founding Deacon Alexander Roberson arrived in Cleveland from the South. The Deacon’s Baptist Mission grew through the succeeding years, initially relying on home prayer groups, then on successive locations for services, aided by itinerant ministers. The congregation’s first home church was constructed on the city’s east side in 1910; there it remained until 1923.
After three successive decades within another acquired church structure at Cedar Avenue and East 103rd Street, the East Mount Zion congregation acquired their present facility in 1955. Eight years later, the congregation acquired additional land for parking.
For the past 23 years, Pastor A. Charles Bowie has led the East Mount Zion Baptist Church congregation. Under his guidance, the church has expanded its community outreach services, including the Lifeline Ministry, begun in 1982, which supplies food to several hundred needy families weekly. Other programs also deal with such issues as sexual integrity, health, music, evangelism, wellness, weight-loss and breast cancer screening.
The congregation of East Mount Zion has recently stabilized at around 1,500 persons. In 2003, the Pastor presided over the opening of the A. Charles Bowie Educational Center, a neighboring structure — also clad in greenish stone and bearing design features and details reflective of the parent church — housing many of the church’s community programs.