BAGDAD VILLAGE HISTORIC DISTRICT
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES - SANTA ROSA COUNTY, FL
A Florida Heritage Site
In 1830, the initial Methodist Mission in Pensacola was able to establish an active congregation in Bagdad under the leadership of Dr. John Wesley Talley, former missionary to the Choctaws. Sermons were first delivered under a brush arbor draped in Spanish moss beside the Blackwater River where members were conveniently baptized.
In 1837, a small wooden building was erected near that site. It served as a house of worship until the early 1880s when a fire destroyed it. Construction of a new sanctuary began in 1885 on Forsyth Street. The land was given to the congregation by H. W. Sindorf, H. W. Thompson, and W. A. Watson.
These men were members of the church and also partners in the Bagdad Sash and Blind Factory. The first worship service was held in the unfinished building in September 1885.
Previous to 1909, oil lamps and a huge wood-coal heater gave light and warmth to the sanctuary. It was then wired for electrical power supplied by the mill. In 1912, lightening struck the steeple damaging it and the bell tower. A new bell was purchased from a West Virginia foundry and has continued to summon worshipers to services each Sabbath for over 100 years. The church is active in the community and offers its fellowship hall as a meeting place. It is also a favorite venue for weddings. Visit their website at www.bagdadunitedmethodistchurch.org.