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AME Church & Museum Listed on Nat’l Register of Historic Places

June 28, 2021

Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, the home of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM), at 189 Hollow Road in Skillman, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 7.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources.

An artist’s rendition of the AME Church on Hollow Road

Mt. Zion AME was recommended eligible for listing on the National Register “for its historic association with the ethnic heritage of African Americans in the Sourlands and…as a humble example of rural Black church architecture with a high level of material and design integrity,” wrote Patrick Harshbarger Vice President of Hunter Research on Mt. Zion AME’s National Register Nomination Form.

The nomination of the Mt. Zion AME Church for listing on the National Register was funded by a Somerset County Historic Preservation Grant. “The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum is grateful for the support we have received from the county, state, foundations, and individuals,” said Caroline Katmann, SSAAM’s Executive Director. “Listing on the National Register is an acknowledgment of the importance of our mission to bring African American history to light and to preserve the structures that were part of that history.”

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Beverly Mills, SSAAM founder and advisory board member, added, “The African American story here is the story of my family and ancestors. We are committed to telling the truth about American history to honor those who came before us.”

Elaine Buck, also a SSAAM founder and advisory board member, emphasized that: “Everywhere we go, people are hungry for information about the culture, contributions, and experiences of African Americans in our state. This is a story that has been ignored until recently. Our state and nation will not heal from centuries of racism until this history is told.

We hope that our Museum, and the beautifully restored Mt. Zion AME Church, will be a place people will visit to learn about and honor the enslaved and free African Americans who contributed so much to the culture, economy and landscape of this area.”

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