Thursday, April 9, 2020

First Presbyterian Church of Punta Gorda -- 125 Years Young

The First Presbyterian Church of Punta Gorda now sits on Airport Road across from the current location of the Masonic Lodge of Punta Gorda.  Ironically, it was in the original masonic hall in downtown Punta Gorda that the church was organized on October 13, 1895.  This year  the congregation will celebrate its 125th anniversary.  

Construction of the first church building began in December of 1900 on Harvey Street across from where the City Hall now stands on land purchased from Isaac Trabue.  It was dedicated on April 14, 1901 with Clarence H. Ferran as the first minister.  

For sixty years, the old wood-frame church building served the community, surviving at least two major hurricanes in 1921 and 1926, when almost all buildings in Punta Gorda sustained damage. Then on September 10, 1960 Hurricane Donna hurled into the city and ripped the steeple from the church and damaged the building beyond repair. A year later a new modern church was built at the same location on Harvey.  

Then on Sunday, August 7, 2005 long time members of the church took their seats in folded chairs in the parking lot of the 2nd church sanctuary of the church for the last time before that building was also demolished.  A year before on August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley left the building in such a state, it couldn't be repaired to satisfy code requirements.

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