Historic Markers Across Florida

St. Mary First Missionary Baptist Church

Marker ID: FLHM F-803
Location: 136 Frow Ave, Coral Gables, FL
County: Miami-Dade
Coordinates: N 25° 43.721    W 080° 15.425
  25.72868333    -80.25708333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMXNA1


St. Mary First Missionary Baptist Church

St. Mary First Missionary Baptist Church was the first African American church in Coral Gables. The church was founded on March 9, 1924, and its congregation of seventeen members first met in an old school house on Thomas Avenue in the MacFarlane Homestead Subdivision. This district contains one of the few remaining concentrations of buildings that reflect the city's African American heritage. In 1926, the congregation built a permanent house of worship on the present location, but it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1926. Another wooden sanctuary was built under the leadership of the Rev. C.H. Williams. In 1938, the Rev. W.F. Tanner began a long association with the church. Upon his arrival, the church had only 162 members; by 1948, under his pastorship, the congregation had grown to over 1,500 members. Rev. Tanner began an ambitious building program for the church, and in 1958 he completed this masonry building. The congregation wanted the new church to be similar in design to the previous church. To that end, architect J. Frank Bradley designed the two-story church with a tower at the same location as in the earlier building. Rev. Tanner served as pastor of the church for 41 years until his death in 1979.

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