Historic Markers Across Florida

First Zion Missionary Baptist Church

Marker ID: FLHM F-876
Location: 125 Southwest 1st Court, Deerfield Beach, FL
County: Broward
Coordinates: N 26° 19.026    W 080° 6.186
  26.3171    -80.1031
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


First Zion
Missionary Baptist Church

The settlement of Deerfield was founded on the southeast coast of Florida with the coming of Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad in 1896. In 1902, two Methodist missionaries began holding religious services for the community. These early services were held in a palmetto brush arbor, a shelter constructed from foliage. No more than five white families and around forty African-Americans lived in the area. Initially local African-American Methodists and Baptists worshipped together in joint services. The Baptist congregation separated from the Methodists and moved to several locations, including a railroad section house and a one-room house, before settling in a more permanent location in 1905. That year, the first wooden church was built on this property under the administration of Rev. A.J. Thomas and Rev. L.J. Ely. For most of the 20th century, the church continued to expand and the congregation thrived. In 1967 the church building was replaced with this larger, more modern structure. Although the original church is no longer standing, the congregation has worshipped at this location since 1905, making it one of the oldest religious sites in Broward County.

F-876 A Florida Heritage Site

First Zion Missionary Baptist Church.