While driving around Tarpon Springs, happily lost, my friends and I noticed this old Spanish style building. We made a mental note of it’s approximate location so we could come back to it after we visited the sponge docks.
It was old and beat up and did not fit in with the historic neighborhood filled with beautiful victorian style homes. The doors were locked tight but one window was broken out. We could see that there was some type of remodel under way. We had a lot of questions but no answers until I was able to do some research after returning home.
I’ve found that the abandoned three-story building was built in 1926 and originally was christened First Baptist Church. It is currently known as, A Glorious Church. It is being transformed into a residential home by it’s current owner Richard Boeckl. Only the buildings majestic frontage along Read Street will match the remnant of the facade.
Boeckl purchased the building in the early 1970’s and rented it to several congregations until a 1993 storm flooded its ground floor with three feet of water and ravaged sections of the roof. He has been doing his best to maintain the building over the years. At one time there was a plan to remake the space into an antique condominium. In an old newspaper article that I found Boeckl said he hopes to have a certificate of occupancy within a year. Based on what we saw through the broken window and the photos shown in the article I think that might be a stretch. When I have a chance to revisit Tarpon Springs I will certainly seek out the old church again to see what progress has been made. How it turns out will remain a mystery until my next visit.