150 year old Melrose church becomes Florida Heritage Site

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MELROSE, Fla. (WCJB) - A historic church whose bells have been ringing for 150 years is being recognized as a Florida Heritage Site.

The Melrose United Methodist Church has been standing since 1868. This week, it is being honored with a historic marker.

"I was very happy because we have four other markers in town and that's one of the oldest churches in the area," said Rosemary Daurer, a town historian.

Over the years the church has gone through changes, but it's bell, installed in 1890, still remains. The bell alerted the town when steamboats came into Melrose Bay in the late 1800's.

Church historian Ruth Berkelman said, "It was also used to alert people of citrus freezes, fires in the area, so the bell was really important."

150 years later, the church bell still rings on Sunday mornings. Some families going back 5 generations as members of the church.

"One interesting thing is that when the Melrose School burned down in the 1940's, it was used for the 1st and 2nd graders for 2 years," Berkelman said.

It's an old church, but it'll be the newest heritage site in the state.

"I think a town this small has a lot of people interested in history and preserving it," said Daurer.

There will be a ceremony unveiling the marker Saturday at 10 am.