Grace Episcopal Church
Grace Church Building Changes Over the Years
by Eleanor Simons
The Grace Church building has gone through changes over the years. In 1880 when the church was built on a downtown lot near today’s courthouse it was a simple wooden rectangle measuring 18 feet wide and 36 feet long. In 1888 the church was enlarged by adding two wings on each side of the nave. A bell with a small spire was added. Now it looked like a church. In 1905 the small lot was no longer big enough for more growth. The church was disassembled and reassembled on the lot where it is today.
After World War II the original windows were replaced with the colorful stained glass windows that we have today.
It wasn’t until the 1950’s that more changes were made. The West entrance to church was closed and a baptismal alcove with font was added. A new main entrance with red doors were facing south. A door was added to the north side of the church and limestone at the new entrance. Air conditioning was added a few years later and a new organ was purchased.
In 1972 a major remodeling project took place. The altar was moved forward from the east wall to a freestanding position with the priest facing the congregation. The organ was moved behind the reredos, choir stalls were moved from the nave to north and south sides of the transepts. The baptismal font was moved to a niche of its own in the original west entrance.The Memorial Garden was designed and built.
In 1995 some remodeling was done including rebuilding the steeple. In 2003 when more seating space was needed the west wall was expanded and more pews were added.
In 2014 a Capital Campaign took place to preserve and enhance the church building. Yellowed plexiglass covering the stained glass windows was removed. The windows were repaired and cleaned letting the light shine through. The church inside was lighter and brighter.
With the pandemic in 2020 came online streaming of our church services. A new sound board was installed. Cameras and digital microphones were purchased. While the church was closed and worship was online a new air conditioning system was installed. New sidewalks around the church and landscaping was updated. The patio behind the church was enlarged and benches added.
Much like a chrysalis that changes from a brown lump into a beautiful butterfly our church building has become, over the years, the beautiful place we worship in today. We remember and are grateful to those who came before us.