Built in the 1940s on a wing and a prayer (so to speak), the Church by the Sea has served the spiritual needs of Madeira Beach residents for more than 70 years. But it’s the church’s unusual architectural feature as much as its history that brings out flocks of curious visitors.
A central feature of the building is the Spanish-style tower with circular windows and a 25-foot mast and beacon, (making it the tallest local structure at the time it was built). The light atop the church tower, which has since been replaced with a lighted cross, served as a nautical landmark to guide boats safely home. It also served to illuminate the tower’s unintended feature: that it happens to resemble a giant chicken from multiple points of view.
Today the nondenominational church remains a landmark and a hub of community life. A series of impressive stained glass windows blend religious iconography with images of the ocean and seabirds. And while the congregation may seek to downplay the tower’s resemblance to a chicken, no one can argue that it brings people out to visit the church.
Know Before You Go
Off of Gulf Blvd. Across from the Madeira Beach Condos. You really can't miss it.