History of Grace
Since its founding in 1831, the sacred place we know as Grace Episcopal Church, has been located in the same two city blocks in historic downtown Hopkinsville. In the beginning, Grace struggled to build its first church building. It was finally completed in 1857 at a final cost of $3,000, plus $1,250 for the rectory. The rector at that time noted “Our church roll was made up of 21, three males, two of these old men, and the other not active; and also seven or eight of the females ... able to do little in aid of parish enterprises ... reducing the efficient strength of the parish to 10 persons, all ladies and not one of them in anything like affluent circumstances.” The rector also wrote that “if there were ever an excuse for giving up it existed here. But still these noble-hearted women never faltered. Through faith and earnest effort they raised the money to complete our church under the most discouraging circumstances.”
With the new church building helping draw parishioners, Grace Church began to grow. The main building was constructed in 1884
in the English Gothic Revival style, whose outstanding features include a realistic hammer beam ceiling and rose window above the main entrance. It was financed by a gift of $50,000 from John Latham, Jr., a gift worth well over $1 million in today’s economy. Mr. Latham also gave the Estey Pipe Organ in 1906, in memory of his mother, and established a fund for the purchase of stained glass windows. We are today proud inheritors of 46 beautiful stained glass windows spread throughout our various church buildings.
The Gaither addition was annexed to the main church, again in the Gothic style, in 1906. During World War I, Abbitt Hall was built as the rectory. It later became our church school and kindergarten facility. The All Saints building was completed in 1985 to house a new parish hall, kindergarten space, and church school. Abbitt Hall was then torn down and that space is now part of our memorial garden.
The people of Grace Church have done much to improve our downtown neighborhood in the past 40 years. We have purchased nine parcels of land on our borders, torn down buildings that occupied that land, and made these areas into two parking areas and green space.