St. William Catholic Church, 1929, St. Simons Island

Now home to Lord of Life Lutheran Church, this Spanish Mission Revival chapel was originally home to St. William Catholic Church. Franciscan friars first established a mission presence near this site in the late 1500s to minister to the native Guale peoples but these early missionaries were martyred and the mission destroyed in 1597. The location was selected by Father Peter McOscar, SM, pastor of St. Francis Xavier of Brunswick, architect Cormac McGarvey, and Mrs. Edith Smith Young. It was originally served by Marist priests from St. Francis Parrish.

Several celebrities have visited the church during its history. In the mid-1930s, actress Irene Dunn was a member of a Confirmation Class here; the great tenor Giovanni Martinelli once sang here; and baseball legend Joe DiMaggio was a volunteer altar server in 1950.

Thanks to Jimmy Goodis for identifying it as the original St. William’s.


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