Little White Church
Markers: Sarasota History
In 1915, Bee Ridge, then part of Manatee County, supported a train station, post office, hotel, general store, and school. A second wave of settlers who moved into Bee Ridge desired a church in their community. In January, 1917, the Reverend J. F. Winnard, D.D., Superintendent of Missions in St. John's Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., organized the Presbyterian Church of Bee Ridge, Florida, with twenty-nine charter members. Bee Ridge Presbyterian Church thus became the second Presbyterian Church in the Sarasota area.
Mrs. Potter Palmer, through the Sarasota-Venice Company, presented the church with two corner lots at Proctor and McIntosh Roads. A congregation-appointed building committee, under Elder J. F. Robie, began construction. The Home Mission Committee in Atlanta provided a loan to cover the cost of the building. Dedication was on December 7, 1919.
A major hurricane in 1926 demolished the church. While using the Bee Ridge Baptist Church for services, the congregation rebuilt the church and dedicated it on March 8, 1927.
On June 21, 1927, lightning struck the new church, and burned it to the ground. Saved from the fire were a piano, six pews, and most of the Bibles and hymnals. A $1000 insurance policy on the burned church provided funds to rebuild. The congregation worshipped in the Bee Ridge Woman's Club during construction. This new wood frame church, in the Gothic Revival style, contained a narthex, a sanctuary, and two classrooms. October 2, 1927 was dedication Sunday.
Growth of church membership in the 1940s led to the erection of an educational building and new sanctuary. Construction of the Victor Lundy-designed sanctuary necessitated moving the Little White Church farther back on the property in 1956.
In 1989, the Albritton family completed restoration of the Little White Church, in memory of family members.
The much beloved Little White Church is presently used for the 8:30 a.m. Sunday service, small groups, weddings, and special services, and continues to be a vital part of the worship at Bee Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Dedicated in 1999 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission.