Island Grove Methodist Church | Alachua County Florida | c. 1880's
Long forgotten and on its last legs stands* Island Grove Methodist Church. Located in a modern-day ghost town, this 19th century (circa 1885) church opened its doors and provided religious service and ceremony for local farmers, fishermen and citrus growers until 1972. Harsh winters, tough times and shifting industry forced most out of the area and further south, leaving this once-blossoming community to fall into historical obscurity. Structures like this one are few and far between but stand like tombstones marking the places where life used to happen. The floor is sinking into the ground. The back wall has become largely detached from the main structure. The interior ceiling is collapsing. Even the steeple is missing.
A building like this is a museum in its most real, unadulterated form. But the last 40 years of disuse certainly show. It will be a sad day when I visit this site and the church no longer stands. But for now, there is someone who cares about this place. The current landowner stepped in to buy the property (and protect the church) when it was scheduled to be torn down and replaced the old roof. Thankfully, people like this exist.
UPDATE: As of 2017, the parcel of land where this church sits was separated from the larger tract where it used to be contained because the present owners were not able to properly insure their land while the church stood on their property. The church parcel has been sold and the new owners plan to take down this old church and reclaim any materials that are still usable.