Armstrong Historic CommunityThe town of Armstrong is one of the oldest African American communities in St. John's county. The small community was settled about 1886 around a sawmill. By 1900 it was a thriving agricultural community shipping potatoes by rail. Timber and turpentine was another big industry for the small community.
While walking the trail you can see the location of the train depot, the Armstrong post-office and the Sand Cut Camp which was for railroad employees. You can also see the remains of St. Mary's AME Church.
St. Mary's African Methodist Episcopal Church
The original church was a wood frame building constructed in 1914. This building was destroyed by fire in 1915 and the members met for the next ten years in homes around town. The present church and bell tower was built in 1925. I can just imagine the excitement of the congregation when their new building was finished.
The picture on the sign shows the church in 1985.
This is what the church looks like now. If you peer closely you can just barely make out the remains. The woods and undergrowth are threatening to completely over take the abandoned building.
(I could have gotten a better picture if I had gotten off the trail and tramped through the high grass and underbrush. But this is Florida and that means ticks! So, no way...I stay on the trail.)
Take Time to See the World Around You!
I often wonder if any of the bicyclist that blew by us have ever taken the time to stop and peer off the trail to see the ruins of this tiny church. Walking is a nice way to view the world around us at 3 miles per hour.
Get outside and take a slow walk to see what you can see!
You can see other churches and cemeteries by checking out: