In December of 1908, a lot was purchased on Boca Grande by Bishop William Crane Gray, the Episcopal Missionary Bishop of South Florida. It would later be swapped for the present site of St. Andrew's at the corner of 4th Street and Gilchrist Avenue in the Village.
Occasional services were held in the Railroad Depot and in private homes during the early years. St. Andrew's
was formally listed as a mission of the Episcopal Church during the diocesan convention of 1912. A small wooden building, probably used originally to house workers, was purchased in 1916 from the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad and moved to its present site.
The St. Andrew's vicarage next to the church was purchased in 1971 to provide housing for a year-'round vicar, and a 20-foot extension to the c
hurch was adde
d in 1980 to increase seating to 132. In 1988, organ builder David Moore and his a
rtisans from Vermont built and installed a "tracker" pipe organ in St. Andrew's under the watchful eye of Fenner Douglas, renowned professor of organ at Oberlin (OH) Conservatory.
St. Andrew's property also embraces a Memorial Wall and Garden, where ashes of loved ones are interred. Designed in 1997,
it was the inspiration of parishioner Anne Wright.
A $3 million renovation and construction project was initiated in 2009 and completed in 2010. It included the demolition of the old vicarage, renovation of the church, and construction of a new Chapter House and
Gardner Cottage (Rectory).
The refurbished church seats 144, enhanced by new
narthex and chancel areas, and a "natural sound" system. The new Chapter House measures 30-foot square, and offers an elegant public space for church gatherings. Sliding glass doors open onto a covered porch, overlooking the Memorial Garden.
The Gardner Cottage offers gracious refuge to the Rector's family. Conveniently located yet private, it encompasses 2,200 square feet of living space, including a den, front
parlor, kitchen with quality built-ins, family room, screened porch, three bedrooms and three full baths.
The three connected buildings present an appealing landscape of casual island elegance, the result of the practiced eye of preservation architect Hank Browne, a parishioner and former Island resident. Working with Hank was our official architect, Thorning Little, of Sarasota, FL., and general contractor, Safety Harbor Builders, a local firm.
Celebrating our parish centennial in 2008, our building objective was to prepare St. Andrew's for the next 100 Years. It has been a good beginning to a promising future!