"Light and Color" Historic Churches Tour

COVID-19 UPDATE: Out of concern for the safety of our churches and guests, the Historic Churches Tour will be postponed until a later date.  We will release more details when they are available.  Stay safe!


From 11 am - 3 pm, five historic churches in Riverside will open their sanctuaries (and one Good Shepherd pool) for free tours to the community.

"Even if you're not religious, stained glass is a breathtaking art form and our neighborhood churches have some really fascinating architecture and history" said Emily Knight, pastor of Riverside Park UMC.

Guided tours will be on the hour and half hour at all locations, but guests are welcome at any time. There will be coloring sheet "passports" for kids and each church will display works from local artists-varying from children's art at Riverside Christian to an 11am and 2pm musical organ tour at Riverside Park United Methodist. The event is free and all donations will support the Children's Enrichment Workshop-an after school program for Central Riverside Elementary students.

"It's important that this event is welcoming to everyone in the community. We won't be proselytizing or pushing agendas. Just sharing really cool space," said Bruce Cole, pastor of Riverside Baptist.

Churches* on the tour are:

  • Riverside Baptist Church was designed by architect Addison Mizer and completed in 1925. It combines ingredients of Romanesque, Byzantine and Spanish church architecture.
  • Riverside Christian Church was originally designed by Marsh & Saxelbye and completed in 1922. This small, square two story building has been significantly altered since that time by architect Ralph Fettner with the "original design still the principal element of the facade."
  • Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd began as a mission in 1870. "After its sanctuary was destroyed by fire in 1915 the church moved to its current location on Park and Stockton Streets. By 1917 a five-state building project was underway." The main sanctuary port was completed in 1929.
  • Riverside Presbyterian was designed by architects Mark & Sheftall and completed in 1927. "The interior features massive wooden beams and thirty-two exceptional stained glass windows designed in the 1940's by Henry Willet of Philadelphia."
  • Riverside Park United Methodist Church - most unique are the stained glass windows which depict historic figures all the way through the 20th The balcony window, by Willet Glass company, exemplifies a very rare technique of layered and laminated glass known as Farbigem; fewer than seven of these three-dimensional windows exist in the United States.

For more information, visit www.riversideavondale.org/lightandcolor.

The Church Tour is part of Riverside Avondale's Anniversary Celebration, honoring the establishment of Riverside 150 years ago and Avondale 100 years ago. Several events commemorating the anniversary are planned by Riverside Avondale Preservation volunteers. You can see these events by visiting www.riversideavondale.org/anniversary.

*(information and descriptions from Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage - Landmarks for the future, written by Wayne Wood for the Jacksonville Historic Landmarks Commission)