The National Park Service has officially listed Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and Cemetery in Gainesville in the National Register of Historic Places.
The church and cemetery are significant historic marker of “The Settlement,” an area established by formerly enslaved people following the Civil War along U.S. 29 near the border of Prince William and Fauquier counties.
The National Register listing is an honorary designation that recognizes the nation's historic places that are significant, including individual buildings, sites, structures, objects and historic districts.
The church was founded in 1877 and moved to its current location in 1882. The building was destroyed by a fire a few years later, and the most recent building was constructed there in 1929.
But in the early morning hours of Aug. 10, 2012, the church was destroyed by an arsonist and declared uninhabitable.
The fire was intentionally set and a Haymarket man, Maurice Michaely, pleaded guilty to the arson in 2013.
Since the fire, the church has been working to rebuild. Church members are still working to raise $1.2 million needed for the rebuilding effort. As of 2021, the church has raised $111,000 of $200,000 needed to begin the second phase of the reconstruction, out of a total of seven phases.
The Virginia Board of Historic Resources listed the church and cemetery in the Virginia Landmarks Register in December, according to a Prince William County press release.
The register is Virginia’s official list of places of historic, architectural, archaeological or cultural significance.