Union Congregational Church – Downtown Jacksonville in the early 1900′s
Arlington Congregational Church was founded by a small group of people who gathered together and began planning in 1875. The first church building was a small one-room wooden structure located on the corner of Church and Hogan Streets in downtown Jacksonville, called Union Congregational Church. It was dedicated on January 9, 1876. In 1898, a new building was erected where the first one had stood. This one was a brick building, Gothic in style, with seating for 375 people. This facility was destroyed in the Great Jacksonville Fire on May 3, 1901.
The congregation built a third facility and dedicated it on January 17, 1904. By 1911, they found the street “too noisy” and decided to rebuild a half block away on West Church Street between Hogan and Julia Streets. This building was completed in June of 1913, with a 400 seat sanctuary and 30 additional rooms for Sunday school and other purposes.
In the 1950s, the church saw the need to provide parking and to reach the expanding suburbs of Jacksonville. The church purchased land on the corner of Floral Avenue and University Boulevard North and built its current facility there. The new sanctuary was dedicated on December 9, 1956 and the church changed its name to Arlington Congregational Church.
The church always had a commitment to serving the community in faith. In its early years, it served as a social center for soldiers during the Spanish-American War and both World War I and II. During the terrible flu epidemic of 1918 “whole families were too sick to feed themselves.” The church was one of the first to establish a soup kitchen and deliver meals to families who could not come to get food themselves. The church helped with distribution of milk for infants of indigent families during one period of its ministry. Activities which became “The Daniel” Memorial Orphanage and the Children’s Home Society were initiated and sponsored by the Congregational Church. This kind of commitment can be seen in our current involvement in over 20 different community and world-wide missions today.
We have a long history of ministry and mission, but even more importantly, we have a strong vision for the future and seeing where God will lead us to continue the spirit of our founders. We invite you to come and share in these ministries “no matter who you are or where you are on your journey of life.”