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Old Church Chapel: Orange Lake, Florida



Old Church Chapel is now an Airbnb in Reddick. I stayed here this summer and it was great. There is a 2 bedroom apartment in the rear on the right and a one bedroom apartment on the left side. This was a great base for exploring Ocala, Gainesville, Micanopy, Evanston, Cross Creek and McIntosh.



Old Church Chapel was built around 1890. The beautiful Stained Glass windows were installed in 1894. The time during and after the Civil War was very interesting for the community of Orange Lake, as well as those of nearby Ocala and Gainesville. Planters, mainly from South Carolina and Georgia arrived in Florida and became prosperous mostly due to the Citrus crops grown in the area. The small communities were beginning to thrive, citrus was the largest crop, phosphate was also discovered in the area, and there were many vegetable farms.






Old Church Chapel was built in an orange grove and was known as the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The first pastor was Rev. R. Tydings. The care and craftsmanship that went into its construction with its fine wooden floors and simple stained glass windows are a good indication of the prosperity of the planters and the dedication the planters had to the community and the land.



The citrus crops were virtually destroyed in 1895 in what is still referred to as the “Big Freeze”. The fortunes of most of the planters were decimated along with the citrus trees, some planters stayed and grew vegetable crops, some grew citrus on the small numbers of trees spared, others left, but the bustling era of growth was over. The area remains rural, quiet, and in many ways much like it was so long ago.


The Orange Lake community became internationally known for it’s Bass fishing and also for it’s tributary, Cross Creek, home of Marjorie Rawlings author of the Pulitzer Prize Winning book “The Yearling”.





Great place to book and host your wedding!!





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