Located at 330 Julia Street is the Rock House Gallery. It is what was originally the Saint Stephen Methodist Episcopal Church. Inside is not only beautiful artwork, but the building itself is a work of art to see.
Built with locally quarried limestone and coral rock, the building has a Gothic-inspired look. The exposed open beams and plank roof structure can be still seen from the interior of the building. Construction began in 1900 with the steeple addition being added in 1920.
The church was one of a handful of African American Methodist Episcopal Churches in Bahama Village. It was named after Saint Stephen who was the first Christian martyr. St. Stephen is the patron saint of the poor and… the Masons.
The church officially closed its doors in 1979. After that, the building was used as office space, then residential space and now today it’s an art gallery.
Today, you can visit the building and not only see the exposed open beams but wonderful pieces of art. The Rock House Gallery is for “those who yearn for something exotic.” They “embrace the traveler… the explorer.. the adventure-seeker….”
The collections on display strive to remind you of the ocean, the wind and the Island. They are open seven days a week from 10 am to 6 pm.
In addition to art, they also sell furniture. But, isn’t furniture a form of art? I think so too.
While in Key West, take the time to go off Duval and head over to Julia Street and check out the Saint Stephen AME Zion Church. As we know today, it’s an art gallery, but you can still see the structure’s beauty and how it was used as a church today.
This stone building is surrounded by many, many wooden structures which makes it unique in Key West. Definitely, plan to check this out while walking around Key West.
(credit: KeyWestHistoricMarkerTour.org and RockHouseGallery.com)
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