GPS: 144 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435. Panel located directly across Circle Drive.
The following is exact wording on interpretive panel #13 on the self-guided walking tour of the Florida Chautauqua Resort/Campus grounds opened in 1885. This panel displays the history of St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church and the roles of churches at the resort from 1885-1935.
The Florida Chautauqua resort/campus offered instructional activities supported by the four pillars of Chautauqua: Art, Education, Recreation, and Religion. In other words, whatever activity you wished to engage in as a resort guest was within one of these four categories. Churches, like St. Agatha’s Episcopal Church, played a significant role on these once-gated grounds in promoting religious programming, courses, and vespers to help guests find spiritual renewal during the resort/campus stay. Leaders encouraged or facilitated the construction of four churches of different faiths to accommodate resort guests seeking spiritual renewal: Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians.
Construction of this church building began in 1895, ten years after the resort/campus opened on this plot donated to the congregation by W.D. Chipley, a founding member of the Florida Chautauqua Association. Kenneth Bruce, president of the Florida Chautauqua from 1914 to 1916, and wife Laura donated the stained-glass window in the front of the church in honor of Laura’s parents.