Old Christ Church
|Old Christ Church|
Old Christ Church
|Location||405 South Adams Street|
|Client||Christ Church Parish|
|Current Owner||Old Christ Church Foundation|
|Construction Start Date||1830|
|Structural System||brick & plaster|
|<googlemap lat="30.409135" lon="-87.210138" zoom="17" width="288" height="200">
30.409135, -87.21031, Old Christ Church </googlemap>
Christ Church (also known as Old Christ Church) is a historic church. It is located at 405 South Adams Street, adjacent to Seville Square. It is currently owned and maintained by West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc. and is part of the Historic Pensacola Village.
Christ Church was the site of the first Protestant congregation in Pensacola, after a religious census by Episcopal minister Ralph Williston discovered an element of the area's predominantly-Catholic population desired their own place of worship. On June 4, 1827, Williston gathered a mixed-denomination group to discuss the creation of a Protestant church, and a vestry was elected.
On October 14, 1829, the newly-formed Protestant Episcopal Congregation of the City of Pensacola petitioned the Territory of Florida to incorporate Christ Church Parish. Governor William P. Duval approved the Act of Incorporation on October 16. Construction of the building began in 1830 and finished in 1832 at a total cost of $4,500. The design is said to be taken from a plan by Sir Christopher Wren.
During the Civil War, the church was used by Union forces as a hospital and barracks.
Between 1878-1879, a major renovation effort was undertaken at a cost of $4,000. An addition of twenty feet was added to the west side, to make room for a new sacristy and choir room; the floor, damaged in the Civil War, was replaced; gothic arches were built into the ceiling; the tower was remodeled with dormer windows on each side; a porch was added to the southern end; the organ lost was removed, and an alter rail was added; and a strained glassed window, entitled "Light of the World," was installed over the alter. The renovations were designed by New York architect Charles C. Haight, and Joseph Areson of Pensacola was the contractor. The pipe organ, destroyed in the Civil War, was replaced in 1887.
The Church moves
The Christ Church congregation moved to their current home on Wright Street in 1903, taking with them the Pilcher and Sons pipe organ. (The organ would later be sold to Gadsden Street Methodist Church.) The last service in the old building was on Good Friday, while the Easter Sunday service was held in the new church.
After the move, Old Christ Church became neglected from disuse. It was deconsecrated in 1935 and deeded to the City of Pensacola in 1936, at which time it became the city's first public library. In 1959, the library moved to its downtown branch, and Old Christ Church became the home of the Pensacola Historical Society. On May 3, 1974, Old Christ Church was added to the United States National Register of Historic Places.
Old Christ Church Foundation
By 1995, the City and the Historical Society had allowed the church to deteriorate, and ownership of the building reverted back to Christ Church Parish. This was approved uninamously by the Pensacola City Council on February 22, 1996. Following an engineering study by firm Baskerville-Donovan, it was determined that the old church would require $172,000 to be brought back up to code and an additional $380,000 to be fully restored. A non-profit organization, the Old Christ Church Foundation, was established to take ownership of the building and to administer its renovations and future use.
For many years the church was home to the Pensacola Historical Society.