Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Caution: Church in (Slow) Motion; Chapel's Move to Beaches Museum Turns into an Impromptu Parade

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Caution: Church in (Slow) Motion; Chapel's Move to Beaches Museum Turns into an Impromptu Parade

Article excerpt

Byline: Roger Bull

It was a slow ride on Third Street at the Beaches Sunday, almost a parade, really. Cyclists pedaled along and people gathered on the sidewalk to watch the church roll by.

The 125-year-old former Episcopal chapel was making one more move. This was from Beaches Chapel School in Neptune Beach, where it's sat for 42 years, to Pablo Historical Park on Beach Boulevard.

There it will join the rest of the Beaches Museum, available for church services, weddings and chamber music.

But first, it had to make the 2-mile journey out onto Third Street and then south to Pablo Avenue. That was the job of LaRue House Movers, who jacked the church up, slid a trailer under it and slowly drove away from the school while workers scurried underneath, placing sheets of plywood to keep the tires from sinking into the dirt.

"They've got a lot more faith in that steel than I do," said Rob Taylor, who was one of dozens of people gathered to watch.

"It's a different kind of work," said Van Naster, who was one of those moving the plywood around. "After the first couple of times, you get used to it."

And then he added this bit of advice: "You just have to keep your eyes and ears open and stay out of the way of the wheels."

Once the truck, trailer and church got to the pavement and turned down Third Street, it was a bit quicker (from crawling speed to walking) but still interrupted as an electrical crew moved traffic signals out of the way. But all along the route, people gathered to watch and take photos.

Some were uninvolved bystanders, but others had long history with that wooden building.

"Every significant event in my life happened in that church," said Patricia McCormick Wainer. "I was baptized there when I was 6, confirmed there when I was 12."

It was first built on Second Street in Jacksonville Beach as St. Paul's By the Sea Episcopal Church with the first service held Aug. 14, 1887. In the early 1950s, it was moved to 11th Avenue North, and a couple of years later was picked up and turned 90 degrees to face Patricia Lane, named for Patricia McCormick.

By 1970, St. Paul's had outgrown the small building, and it was moved again to Beaches Chapel School. …

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