Grace Episcopal Church
If Bricks Could Talk - A Little History
By Eleanor Simons
I took a photo of the bricks found when George Moorehead was working on the landscaping around the Parish House. We both wondered why they were buried beneath the bushes. If they could only talk they would have had a lot they could tell us. I did a little history search and had to make some educated guesses as to what they would say.
In January 1912 a rectory was build beside the church for the rector and his family. It wasn’t the first rectory; earlier there had been one located on Silver Springs Boulevard. It was sold and a new rectory was built. My guess is that those bricks were once the base the rectory sat on. The church has similar low pillars of bricks holding it off the ground. If you walk around the church and look under it you can see them.
Eleven different rectors and supply priests lived in the rectory alone or with their families. They also had to share it with the church members. Bathroom facilities on Sundays were located in the rectory. Sunday School classes and meetings were held there. When money was needed the upstairs of the rectory was rented out.
In 1924 money was borrowed from a bank and the lot next to the rectory was purchased for the planned Parish House. Sadly there was no money to build as planned. Later that year the vestry decided to use the bond method to raise money for the Parish House. The plan was there would be 80 bonds, $100 each at 5% interest and 140 bonds at $50 each. In October of that year the decision was made that the Parish House should be next to the church not next to the rectory. If only those bricks could tell us more about all those discussions.
The next years were difficult years. The Great Depression and World War II brought hard times to Ocala and Grace Church. There was reduced manpower, shortages, rationing, and for some of those years Grace carried on without a rector.
Finally 1947-1948 prosperity after the war led the vestry to plan a building drive for the Parish House. The Rectory was moved to the east to make way for it. I don’t know if the rectory was used after moving it.
In the 1950’s the Rectory was demolished to make way for the school and the Parish House was finally built. The bricks somehow remained. The Parish House was built, but that is another story the bricks could tell if they could only talk.