St. Marys First Presbyterian Church


Some of you who keep up with my blog posts will remember that earlier this year I embarked on a road trip to scout out possible retirement locations.

The last possible retirement city that my friend and I visited was St. Marys, Georgia (USA). When we were still in South Carolina, we met a lady who had moved to St. Marys and insisted that we check out that area.

Walking around the historic riverfront area we found friendly people, dog friendly establishments and many restored homes and inns.

Although I photographed several churches, my favorite was the First Presbyterian Church. 

The church was built in 1808. It is the second oldest church in the state of Georgia and the state’s oldest building in continuous use as a church. The first pastor was ordained and installed in June 1822.

On December 20, 1828, the church was incorporated under the name of the Independent Presbyterian Church of St. Marys.

On December 5, 1832, The Independent Church was incorporated as the First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys in the Georgia Presbytery.

A photograph inside the building shows a flat front to the church with the stairs angled down to the left side. A plaque on the photograph states that the picture was taken prior to 1898. A little research found that the photograph was actually showing a back entrance to a gallery for the enslaved.

In December 1956, a fire destroyed the original east side entrance. The church was restored with wood as old as the original church and rededicated within a few months of the fire.

Today the First Presbyterian Church of St. Marys, Georgia is admired both for its architecture and its members’ determination and faith to preserve the building for future parishioners.  

Interestingly, the lady who first insisted we check out St. Marys is a member of this church and I spoke with her briefly as she left service the Sunday morning that I was taking photographs of the church.

I look forward to a return trip to this charming city in the near future to introduce my husband to this city as a possible retirement location. We will be driving past this historic structure as we slowly cruise into town.

To view a larger image of the church click here:

Be sure and leave a comment and/or suggestions if you have visited or lived in the St. Marys area.


04/20/2023 at 5:17 pm

My friend’s name is Cheryl Smith. She is with the RE agency. I believe she owns it. Not sure.

Those coastal areas and beaches in Northern Florida are very crowded

I will definitely let you know next time we are going up there

04/17/2023 at 1:02 pm

St Mary’s is one of my wife’s and I favorite places. In fact, we are looking for ways to move there. A friend of mine is a real estate agent in St Marys. We probably go back by the end of this month. You have the best of both worlds in St Marys, you have the small town to live in and neighboring Kingston for the rest. Did you know that the second largest submarine base in the U.S. is in St Marys? Most military live in Kingston, which makes it a little cheaper to live, but not nearly as nice as St Marys. Like you, I too photographed all those quaint little churches. There a quiet a few for such a small town. I like your shot! Next time, try to visit the Crooked River State Park. You might like it.

    04/17/2023 at 8:26 pm

    We have another trip there soon, too!
    I met with a Realtor when there and am communicating now by email. Bitsy works at St. Marys Realty. Who is your friendly real estate agent there?

    We might check out the state park this time. Hubby also wants to check out Yulee while we’re that close. He knows I crave beach time. LOL

    Let me know by private email when you’ll be there. We could meet up!

    04/20/2023 at 5:18 pm

    I meant, the same RE agency

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