Zion UMC, Toddville’s tall landmark

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TODDVILLE — The most architecturally distinguished structure remaining in the village of Toddville is the Zion United Methodist Church, built around 1890 in a Gothic Revival format with a prominent entrance and bell tower capped by a broach spire. The church towers above the rest of the landscape in this low-lying area of Dorchester County.

Accompanying the church on the lot is a nineteenth and twentieth century cemetery, containing scores of marked graves. North of the church is a single-story church hall.

As the community and population of “Todd Town,” later modified to Toddville, developed during the mid to late nineteenth century a Methodist Episcopal congregation was established to serve the residents that occupied a ridge of land bordered on each side by extensive marshland west of Fishing Bay. Despite the prevalence of the name Todd, the land bounded by Goose Creek and Little Creek was known as Robinson’s Neck due to the large number of residents with that surname.

A Methodist Episcopal congregation formed by the third quarter of the nineteenth century, and a church was designated on the south side of the main road extending through the village. Although no early deed has surfaced conveying the original lot for the church, another parcel was acquired by the “Zion M. E. Church of Robinson’s Neck” for a cemetery in 1889.

Around the same time the congregation financed construction of a new Gothic Revival frame church, which in part followed a design developed by architect Benjamin D. Price for the Methodist Episcopal conference. Church Plan 4A called for a corner entrance and bell tower that was juxtaposed next to a projecting single story section identified on the plan as an “Infant Room.” A similarly designed front was also executed for the Ebenezer M. E. Church in Crapo.