Caroline Kipp came to Marco Island in 1924 at the age of 19. She married Dewey Robinson and they raised five children. She conducted Sunday school in her home, but was determined to have a real church for the Islanders. The site she chose was on Bald Eagle Drive, near the present Riverside Club.
In 1937, Caroline and her friend Beatrice Bronson sought donations from area lumber yards, aided by Lorenzo Walker, a local teenager, and other Marco families, as well as Caroline’s father and brother. Because money was tight, Caroline went door-to-door on the Island, and even solicited donations from visitors at the Olde Marc Inn and the Marco Lodge. The building opened as the Church of God in early 1939.
When the Deltona Corporation donated land for all of the Island churches in the 1970s, they asked for a volunteer to take over the old cemetery on Bald Eagle Drive. The Church of God was the only one to accept, and Deltona accordingly deeded the cemetery to them in 1982. The original church was moved to the cemetery’s location in April of that year, and a second building was constructed.
The church completely refurbished the original building, moving it to its present spot in the 1990s. Today, the lovingly restored church is available for small weddings or christenings. In February, Pastor Thomas MacCulley, whose evangelical congregation had no meeting place for many years, merged with the one at the cemetery, and is now the New Life Community Church of God, a tribute to Caroline’s devotion and perseverance.
What’s happening in the Historical Society
Living history began with a flourish as 200 founding members got a sneak preview of the Marco Island Historical Museum to celebrate “topping” the building.
The walls are up, the roof is on and the Founders’ Circle is closing today. Circle members and prospective donors toured the museum, signed the time capsule banner, viewed slides of the construction, and enjoyed a casual cocktail party at the site. Historical works of art by Stephen Muldoon helps separate the future Calusa Room from the Pioneer Room in the big open space without interior walls. Muldoon also sold his prints at half price to benefit the museum. Bill Hughes, captured it all on film for the time capsule.
The party was planned by Chairman Steve Stefanides and the Topper Gang: TJ Brown, Evelyn Case, Brenda and Peter Clapp, Gene and Paula Erjavec, David and Anna Fieselman, Darcie Guerin, Kris Helland, Mary Lou Jankowski, Patty Marzula, Jerry and Mary Helen Masters, Kathy Miracco, Brenda and Joe Neiween, Marion Nicolay, Rick and Neva Noland, Betsy and Bill Perdichizzi, Pris Penn, Carol Rosasco, Carol and Ken Wood.
Marion Nicolay and Betsy Perdichizzi of the Marco Island Historical Society are compiling this report on a weekly basis for the Eagle. Shirley Beckwith oversees the archiving of photos for MIHS.