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Historic Kanapaha Church

P. Marlin April 2014

In 1854, a few Sea Island Cotton growers from South Carolina settled in the south west Gainesville, Florida, area then known as Arredondo. These plantation owners soon realized a need for a church in the area, a community to nurture and strengthen them in their faith. The Rev. W. J. McCormick, their former pastor from South Carolina, was asked to come and so he and his family arrived in the summer of 1857. The first Presbyterian Church in Alachua county had officially begun..

Thomas and Serena Haile (named for the present site of Haile Plantation in Gainesville) were nearby plantation owners and attended the church. In an 1885 Easter Celebration at Kanapaha Presbyterian Church, Serena Haile wrote in her diary:

"Sunday 5th Easter Sunday “Mr Hough’s” Sermon – “He is not here, He is risen” Text – Church Decorated prettily A large Congregation – Good singing"

The vintage photo is of the 1885 Easter Celebration at Kanapaha Church while the present photo was taken in April 2014. Kanapaha Presbyterian Church is still standing today, with many original fixtures and windows, at 6221 SW 75th Terrace, Gainesville, Florida.


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