Zion Episcopal Church

★★★★☆
  • 300 E Congress St

    Charles Town, WV 25414

    Map & Directions
  • 304-725-5312

About Zion Episcopal Church

Religion

Religion
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4.0 1
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This is a non-churchgoer's review of a church. It's fair to say that my interest in houses of worship have more to do with their cultural context than with their purely religious importance. In this case, that context revolves largely around the importance of the Washington family to local and national history. You see, Charles Washington (brother to George) founded Charles Town, and Samuel Washington (brother to both George and Charles) was a vestryman in the Zion's predecessor congregation. Thus in cultural terms, Zion Episcopal Church is a must-see for visitors to Charles Town. The church itself is on the site of an 1818 structure that has been destroyed and restored twice since, each time on the same spot. The current structure, dating from 1851 (but feeling much older) has an interior supported by two rows of impressive columns, several spectacular stained-glass windows (some attributed to Tiffany), and a baptismal font more reminiscent of an English church than an American one. The bell and tower on the church date from the 1890s. The cemetery surrounding the Zion Episcopal is the resting place of more members of the Washington family than any other single location in the nation--including Mount Vernon. The mortal remains of more than 70s Washingtons rest in the Zion cemetery. And it is one of the ironies of history that on Memorial Day, many of these graves are decorated with Confederate battle flags--with the Stars and Strips being almost entirely absent. As do most of the older buildings in Charles Town, Zion Episcopal boasts numerous connections to the American Civil War, having served a variety of purposes during that conflict, including as a hospital. Like so many other structures in the path of that war, the church was badly damaged. For those who might wish to worship is this beautiful church, services are typically held on Sundays and Thursdays. Call 304-725-5312 for more information or to arrange a tour of the sanctuary.

PROS: Historic structure and cemetery
CONS: Scanturary hours are limited

4
★★★★☆

This is a non-churchgoer's review of a church. It's fair to say that my interest in houses of worship have more to do with their cultural context than with their purely religious importance. In this case, that context revolves largely around the importance of the Washington family to local and national history. You see, Charles Washington (brother to George) founded Charles Town, and Samuel Washington (brother to both George and Charles) was a vestryman in the Zion's predecessor congregation. Thus in cultural terms, Zion Episcopal Church is a must-see for visitors to Charles Town. The church itself is on the site of an 1818 structure that has been destroyed and restored twice since, each time on the same spot. The current structure, dating from 1851 (but feeling much older) has an interior supported by two rows of impressive columns, several spectacular stained-glass windows (some attributed to Tiffany), and a baptismal font more reminiscent of an English church than an American one. The bell and tower on the church date from the 1890s. The cemetery surrounding the Zion Episcopal is the resting place of more members of the Washington family than any other single location in the nation--including Mount Vernon. The mortal remains of more than 70s Washingtons rest in the Zion cemetery. And it is one of the ironies of history that on Memorial Day, many of these graves are decorated with Confederate battle flags--with the Stars and Strips being almost entirely absent. As do most of the older buildings in Charles Town, Zion Episcopal boasts numerous connections to the American Civil War, having served a variety of purposes during that conflict, including as a hospital. Like so many other structures in the path of that war, the church was badly damaged. For those who might wish to worship is this beautiful church, services are typically held on Sundays and Thursdays. Call 304-725-5312 for more information or to arrange a tour of the sanctuary.

PROS: Historic structure and cemetery
CONS: Scanturary hours are limited

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