The building of the oldest congregation in St. Augustine's historic Lincolnville neighborhood is set to get a facelift.
The City of St. Augustine plans to invest up to $250,000 to repair Trinity Independent Methodist Church.
Action News Jax's Courtney Cole explains why the city closed the church and shares what she learned about its historical significance.
Trinity Independent Methodist Church has been sitting on the corner of Bridge and Oneida streets in Lincolnville since 1911.
It’s one of the oldest Protestant congregations in Florida, according to the Lincolnville Community Redevelopment Agency.
"The church is definitely a part of the fabric of St. Augustine . It's very much worthy of preservation,” said Charles Tingley, the Senior Research Librarian at St. Augustine Historical Society.
Tingley told Action News Jax newly freed Africans were left in charge of the church after white and black Methodists split following the Civil War.
“It was active with the Civil Rights demonstrations in the 1960s. But it has a much longer history than that,” said Tingley.
Trinity was one of the main churches where rallies were held in preparation for marches Downtown to protest racial discrimination, according to information from the Lincolnville Community Redevelopment Area 2017 annual report.
The City of St. Augustine was forced to close the building in 2014 because it was deemed unsafe.
Now, four years later, you can see there's still a gate and support beams holding up part of the building.
"Architecturally it's interesting, because it's a pristine example of the auditorium style of church,” Tingley told Action News Jax.
In an effort to preserve a rich part of Lincolnville's history, the neighborhood's Community Redevelopment Agency is investing up to $250,000 to repair it and get those church doors open to the public again.
While there isn’t a set date when repairs will be completed, the historical society is still working to learn more about some of its original members.
“We had people try to identify the people in the photograph when we acquired it 30-40 years ago, but the photograph was probably from 50-60 years ago. They couldn't really point out many people in the photographs,” Tingley said.
He told Action News Jax's Courtney Cole it's a good reminder for all of us to do one important thing:
"Write things down!” Tingley said.
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