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2007 Downtown Historic Church Tour

A century of downtown sanctuaries in one afternoon.

Published December 11, 2007 in History      18 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church - 317 Florida Avenue

Located next to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, this church is known as the only religious structure in town to not be destroyed by the Great Fire of 1901. Built in 1887, it now serves as the home of the Jacksonville Historical Society.

**This historical society had a special event being held inside of the building so this is the only interior shot that was taken.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church- 121 East Duval Street

Completed in 1910, this structure is known as one of the finest Gothic Revival churches in the State. Standing at 178.5 feet, it was Jacksonville's tallest building until 1913.

First Baptist Church- 133 West Church Street

This church was designed by H.J. Klutho in 1903. The interior originally featured a hand painted mural on the domed ceiling, but it was removed in a 1924 renovation. Imagine if First Baptist went vertical instead of horizontal. During the 1920's, a vertical church was proposed.

First United Methodist Church- 225 East Church Street

Located between the Immaculate Catholic Church and St. John's Episcopal Cathedral, this church is the most recently constructed on the tour.  Property appraiser records show the sanctuary as being built in 1924, although it appears to be constructed in the 1960s.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church- 325 Market Street

This church was built in 1901 on the foundation of the congregation's sanctuary that was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1901. It was designed by Henrietta Cuttino Dozier, Jacksonville's first woman architect.

St. John's Episcopal Cathedral- 256 East Church Street

This church property was originally on the outskirts oftown at the crest of "Billy Goat Hill". When the city expanded, the church was left in place and the street grid was developed around it. This Gothic Revival complex was built in 1903 to replace the 1877 building, which was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1901.

First Presbyterian Church- 118 East Monroe Street

This Gothic Revival church building was constructed in 1901 to replace the original structure that was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1901.

Historic Mount Zion AME Church- 201 East Beaver Street

This Romanesque Revival style structure was constructed in 1901 to replace the previous church, which was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1901.

Various images snapped during the tour.

With so many people out and about, new remote spaces had to be foundby our urban outdoorsmen.

Hemming Plaza was the central point of activity.

JTA trolley buses finally received a load of riders with routes set up to drop spectators off at the front of eachchurch.

Nevertheless, it definitely feels, sounds, and smellslike you're on one of those yellow school buses.

Downtown churches omitted

Bethel Baptist Institutional Church - 1058 North Hogan Street

Bethel's beginnings came in 1868, when the local Baptist congregation split along racial lines. The white congregation later became First Baptist Church. Bethel's current building was constructed in 1904 and is dominated by a unique large bell tower. Metro Jacksonville assumes Bethel wasn't a part of the tour because it sits in No-Man's land along with FCCJ, between Downtown and Springfield.

Snyder Memorial Methodist Church - 226 North Laura Street

Like many others, this church was built to replace one that burned during the Great Fire of 1901. Today, it sits in a state of disrepair under the ownership of the City of Jacksonville. Hopefully, it will stand the test of time andbe sold to the private sector for renovation before it falls in on itself.

First Christian Church - corner of Church and Hogan Streets

Built in 1950 and listed on Metro Jacksonville's 2007 list of endangered downtown structures, this church was torn down by KBJ Architects, after years of neglect. Today, a dirt lot remains in its place.








18 Comments

NJ to JAX WHAT DID I DO?

December 11, 2007, 08:30:47 AM
Immaculate Conception is one of the most beautiful catholic churches I have been to....and certainly the best in Jacksonville.  It reminds me of some of the great, old catholic churches  that are typically found in the northeast.

02roadking

December 11, 2007, 10:20:18 AM
Nice pics gang. Had all intentions of taking the tour, camera in tow, but got side-tracked Sat. afternoon.
  There is also a lot small churches scattered through Springfield that seem to be interesting.

Steve

December 11, 2007, 10:43:05 AM
Immaculate Conception is one of the most beautiful catholic churches I have been to....and certainly the best in Jacksonville.  It reminds me of some of the great, old catholic churches  that are typically found in the northeast.

There is a reason I am getting married there :)

alohameisha

December 11, 2007, 01:20:28 PM
Beautiful! I went home to charge my camera battery half way through. I did the festival of trees that day at the library too. It was a great turn out for a Saturday downtown. This is the first year they have done the church tours and I hope they will continue considering the great turnout.

Matt

December 11, 2007, 03:54:02 PM
synder memorial is so nice, and its right in the heart of downtown. i pray that this one doesn't get wasted like the other church. hell, i'll conduct a sermon there if i have to.

RiversideGator

December 11, 2007, 06:11:24 PM


This is one of the neatest proposals I have seen.  We used to have a thread somewhere on proposed Jacksonville skyscrapers which were never built.  I am especially interested in those from pre-1930.  Perhaps this should be resurrected...

fsujax

December 12, 2007, 08:11:26 AM
FBC will soon be restoring the historic Hobson Auditorium as part of a multi-million dollar renovation of the entire church complex.

Charleston native

December 12, 2007, 12:09:33 PM
I thought the sanctuary for FBC was bigger than that. The pictures reminded me of some of the other downtown churches in Chas and Columbia that haven't expanded due to the lack of land. I wish there were some exterior shots of the church.

The pics of the Immaculate Conception are very beautiful. Good grief, that church can compete with even larger Catholic churches...even the National Cathedral in DC!

thelakelander

December 12, 2007, 12:11:26 PM
That's FBC's historic sancturary.  They have a larger one a few blocks away.

Charleston native

December 12, 2007, 12:27:49 PM
Aha! I was thinking the same thing, but it's been so long since I've been there, I forgot. Thanks!

thelakelander

December 12, 2007, 01:30:22 PM
We used to have a thread somewhere on proposed Jacksonville skyscrapers which were never built.  I am especially interested in those from pre-1930.  Perhaps this should be resurrected...

I have a few scans of some proposals never built.  I'll get them uploaded before I head north for Christmas.

brassduval

December 28, 2007, 08:30:11 AM
"Bethel's beginnings came in 1868, when the local Baptist congregation split along racial lines.  The white congregation later became First Baptist Church.  Bethel's current building was constructed in 1904 and is dominated by a unique large bell tower.  Metro Jacksonville assumes Bethel wasn't a part of the tour because it sits in No-Man's land along with FCCJ, between Downtown and Springfield."


This information is not accurate or just to the great legacy of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church. The church was organized in 1838! Therefore it's beginnings began at that time. Bethel is documented as the FIRST baptist church in Jacksonville and the OLDEST Baptist church in the state of Florida. The congregation did split but the original confusion started when the Federal Army took physical possession of the church and it was used as a military hospital during the civil war. The historic sanctuary has been on the national registry of historic places since 1978.  The construction began in 1901 and was completed in 1904. The church is rooted in history as: Florida Memorial College was founded in Bethel as Florida Baptist Academy before moving to St. Augustine. (here is where you can find a more detailed writing of the church http://www.bethelite.org/about.html)

Heres are pictures inside of the historic sanctuary. (imported marble is used inside several places of this historic structure )



These are post cards that picture the church from 1900-1908 and in 1911




This is the present day building





brassduval

December 28, 2007, 08:43:54 AM
Bethel is also not located on Hogan street. The church purchased the entire block of property that the historic sanctuary sits on! Those streets were renamed Bethel Baptist Street and Rev. Dr. Rudolph McKissick Sr. Blvd. (after the churchs oldest serving pastorate and current pastor 42 years! )

thelakelander

December 28, 2007, 09:27:12 AM
Thanks for the correction.  Bethel does have a storied history that the entire community should be proud of.  Personally, I'd like to see the Downtown and Springfield communities attempt to work with Bethel and FCCJ in improving the landscape in that immediate area and becoming better neighbors.  There's so much potential in that area and Bethel could be the main focal point that the community should build around to reconnect Downtown and Springfield as one vibrant walkable neighborhood.

thelakelander

December 28, 2007, 02:45:58 PM
How many members attend Bethel?  Does the church have any plans to expand?

brassduval

December 29, 2007, 08:54:21 AM
Theres about 12,000 on the churchs roll. The main sanctuary seats about 3,000. The main sanctuary was just built in 2000 but they have already out grown it. They also just purchased the old ramada inn in arlington.

Here are a few of there expansion plans.....




sandyshoes

October 17, 2009, 07:15:02 PM
Does anyone know if there will be tours this year (2009)?  Had a blast last year, first time we got to go.  Wish they'd take into consideration those of us who are unable to negotiate stairs, both in boarding the buses with multiple, steep steps and churches with stair entries.  Hope I can manage to physically go this year if it's scheduled.  It was absolutely wonderful, especially end of the tour when it actually got cooler.

JeffreyS

October 17, 2009, 07:45:38 PM
I wanna go this year.
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