In Titusville, Florida, LaGrange Community Church was established in 1869. This Gothic Revival church is the oldest Protestant Florida church between St. Augustine and Key West on the east coast of the state. It was built in 1872 with two stories, the top floor used as a public meeting site and schoolhouse. That second floor was later removed in 1893 when a separate school was built nearby, and a bay window was added to the front facade along with some other modifications. The architecture has remained essentially unchanged since then. It originally served a mix of Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists. Today it’s included on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wacahoota United Methodist Church is near Williston, Florida and was organized in the 1850s. The building today is the third at the location, built in 1899 and still without electricity or bathrooms. It’s said to be one of the oldest Florida Methodist churches still holding regular services. The cemetery a few yards from the church also has graves dating back to the early 1850s.
I passed this church while driving through Windsor, Florida. It sits on private land and is no longer used for services.
First Baptist Church in Madison, Florida was built in 1898. It’s an octagonal church with much of the interior built out of pine. The Queen Ann style is rare in Florida and stands out from the mostly rectangular styles of other Baptist churches. The building was moved to the current location in 1956 and concrete steps and pilings were added, but the building itself is original from the 19th century. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Sparr, Florida is in central Florida and is home to at least two churches. Sparr UMC is located on the main street through town.
Longwood, Florida was developed in the first half of the 19th century as settlers started moving to Florida in larger numbers. By the time Christ Episcopal Church was built in 1880, there were five churches and three hotels in the town. The church is one of the oldest buildings in the Longwood Historic District, which was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
With the increase of winter visitors to Florida in the late 1800s, the Crescent City, Florida area decided they needed a church. So the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter was built and services first held in early 1878. The design is considered Carpenter Gothic, developed by Richard Upjohn, a British born architect who also lived in New York. This architectural style was modeled on the Gothic architecture of the Anglican churches and allowed skilled local carpenters to help poorer or more rural parishes to design affordable, but attractive places to worship. Many of these Carpenter Gothic churches in Florida were built along the St. Johns River, which was a major travel route for early travelers.