Historic Markers Across Florida

Fellsmere Union Church

Marker ID: FLHM F-766
Location: N Broadway St at N Hickory St, Fellsmere, FL
County: Indian River
Coordinates: N 27° 46.067    W 080° 35.960
  27.76778333    -80.59933333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMMJZA


Side 1
Fellsmere Union Church, located at 12 North Hickory Street, is the first and oldest church in the City of Fellsmere. The Reverend James A. Liggitt, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of London, Ohio, and a property owner in Fellsmere, was quoted in his sermonette in the July 25, 1912 edition of the Fellsmere Farmer as saying there was "a strong sentiment among residents of Fellsmere, Florida for a church unity organization-a Union Church or amalgamation of religious bodies which in their present segregated state make it necessary to maintain countless churches and pastors." At the time, the Union Church movement was spreading across the United States and Canada. The Reverend Fletcher D. Baker, Doctor of Divinity, who later became the first minister of the Fellsmere Union Church, arrived in Fellsmere in October 1912, at age 68, and built a cottage at the corner of New York Avenue and Orange Street. Unfortunately, his wife, Ella Vanarsdel Baker, died the month before at age 65. Rev. Baker was born in Indiana and later moved to Illinois, where he served in the Union Army as a private during the Civil War, from 1862 to 1865, and fought at Gettysburg. He was ordained as a Methodist Episcopal minister in 1871.
(Continued on other side)

Side 2
On December 12, 1912, Baker, along with R.A. Conkling, Fellsmere Farms Company Demonstration Farm Superintendent, and Victor J. Hadin, local builder, were appointed to a committee to consider forming a Union Church. By January 23, 1913, there were at least 24 donors to the church, including the Fellsmere Farms Company. In a letter dated January 14, 1913, General Manager Ernest H. Every stated that the Fellsmere Farms Company donated Lots 10 to 17 in Block 77 to the Union Church. The order for lumber was placed by February 6, 1913, and the original one-story wood frame 40'x60' building with a 10'x10' square bell tower was constructed by Victor J. Hadin over the next three months. On Sunday, May 4, 1913, the Fellsmere Union Church opened its doors for its first non-denominational worship service. In August, the church was lighted with electricity. By 1914, church membership totaled 101, and in 1920, the church was incorporated. On January 6, 1926, the congregation voted to change the name of the church to the Fellsmere Community Church, and it was incorporated by this name on September 14, 1953, by church member Ernest H. W Everett.
The Indian River County Historical Society, the City of Fellsmere
and the Florida Department of State


City: Fellsmere, FL