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Massapequa's Old Grace Church: A Long Island Landmark

Written by Chris Boyle  |  09. October 2019

When traveling down Merrick Road in Massapequa, you may have noticed a quaint old church set back from the busy roadway, its wooden shingles and old-fashioned construction standing out amongst its neighboring buildings and homes. This is Old Grace Church, one of the most noteworthy landmarks in all the area, and current home of the Massapequa Historical Society.


Old Grace Church, one of the most noteworthy landmarks in all the of the Massapequas. Photo Credit: Chris Boyle

Erected in the year 1844, Old Grace Church was built to serve the area’s Episcopal population on land donated by the Floyd-Jones family. Costing $1,300 to construct, the building is in a Gothic Revival style and features a square bell tower with a spire, and was originally covered with clapboard shingles and adored with diamond-shaped stained glass windows. In the early 1900’s, the church was extensively renovated to fit more parishioners – up to 150 – and it’s now-familiar wooden shingles were installed, replacing the clapboard ones.


Erected in the year 1844, Old Grace Church was built to serve the area’s Episcopal population on land donated by the Floyd-Jones family.
 Photo Credit: Chris Boyle

Old Grace Church is surrounded by the Floyd-Jones family cemetery and various other historical buildings. It served as the only church in Massapequa until after World War II; in 1960, Grace Episcopal Church – a much larger venue – was built directly across the street when the original church was deemed no longer sufficiently large enough to serve its growing parish. Old Grace Church continued to serves various functions, however, but was later officially deconsecrated and retired in 1981. The church’s original Tiffany windows were removed and re-installed across the street at the new Grace Church; replacement windows were procured from a church located in New Jersey.


In 1983, Old Grace Church was granted National Landmark Status by the United States Department of the Interior.
 Photo Credit: Chris Boyle

Several years after being retired from active service, Old Grace Church was given to the Massapequa Historical Society, a volunteer-driven non-profit group founded to help maintain and preserve the church; they would later expand the scope of their services to encompass all historical aspects of Massapequa. In 1983, Old Grace Church was granted National Landmark Status by the United States Department of the Interior.


Costing $1,300 to construct, the building is in a Gothic Revival style and features a square bell tower with a spire.
 Photo Credit: Chris Boyle

In addition to seeing to the upkeep and preservation of the Old Grace Church, the Historical Society also attends to other buildings on the Church’s grounds – The Delancey Floyd-Jones Free Library and the Elbert Floyd-Jones Servants Cottage – as well as other historic places throughout the area, serving to establish a living, breathing chronicle of the life and times of the South Shore’s very first community, founded originally in 1696.


In the early 1900’s, the church was extensively renovated to fit more parishioners.
 Photo Credit: Chris Boyle

To learn more about the Massapequa Historical Society and to set up a tour of Old Grace Church, please visit their website.

 

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