ST. Marks Episcopal Church

St. Mark's Parish was organized on December 12, 1853, and is the oldest church in Palatka.  Records show, however, that Episcopal services were conducted here as early as 1846.  Construction on the building was begun in the Spring of 1854 and the first service held later that year.  The Bronson House nearby was also built in 1854.  Judge Isaac Bronson, along with 18 others, including Judge James Burt and William D. Moseley, first governor of Florida, made up the committee who decided to build this house of worship.  Its Carpenter Gothic styling was used for many other churches in this area.

    

Prior to the Civil war (1862-1865) vicars from the north held services during the winter months only.  The development of St. Mark's was temporarily stymied during the terrible war years.  In the Parish Record Book (1856-1896), Dr. Hawes poignantly states:  "The war is imminent and the parishioners are scattered.  the rector, Mr. Edwin Nichols has gone North." *  In fact, during the conflict, Union soldiers occupied our church and considerable damage was done.  Following the war, the church was again opened and in March of 1866, the first Sunday School was started.  By 1873, St. Mark's was able to obtain parish status.

The beautiful stained glass window above the Altar in the church depicts St. Mark, the Evangelist, our Patron Saint.  John Mark was a disciple and interpreter of Peter and is believed to be the author of the Gospel which bears his name.  His symbol is a winged lion, as can also be seen on St. Mark's banner.  This window was given long ago by the congregation in memory of Dr. G. E. Hawes, who was the beloved Senior Warden of St. Mark's for 41 years (1855-1896).  There are 16 stained glass memorial windows inside the church proper.  They are especially fine windows, four of which were given by the Thomas Mellon family of Pittsburgh, who wintered here years ago.  The impressive stone Baptismal Font was given in this century in memory of Elizabeth Moseley Houghton.

The present church office is housed in an old home which existed in 1870.  It was purchased by the Vestry in the latter 1940's and was used as the rectory until 1959.  The Parish House was built early in the 1880's and was once part of St. Mark's Academy, established in 1882.  According to records, this was "the leading institution of learning" for young men in Palatka for many years.  Later it was sometimes rented and then became the rector's home until the late 1920's.  After becoming the Parish House, the paneled room upstairs became the rector's office.  The room with the fireplace is still called the Guild Room because of the many Guild meetings held there through the years.

Our original little church has been expanded and added on to many times and much more can be said about its history.  Today, as in times past, St. Mark's is dearly loved and nourished as a house of worship, dedicated to serving our Lord.

I had the privillage of visting the church for one of their tours I recieved the pages below from that tour! I would like to personally Thank St Marks for thier time in providing me with the tour!

A Guided Tour

St. Marks Information Pamplet

History from St Marks Episcopal Church Website

photos and page created by Susan Richardson

23, February 2013