Grace Memorial Church
Grace Memorial Episcopal Church is one of the oldest buildings in Hammond because its location saved it from the 1896 fire that devastated most of downtown.
It is also the oldest religious congregation in the area. Mrs. Mertie Cate organized the congregation in the mid-1860s, holding the services in her home. As the congregation grew, services were moved into the post office until funds could be received for the building of a church. Charles Emery Cate donated the land for the church building and cemetery. Monetary donations came from the congregation and across the country.
Built by the men of the congregation, the church was completed in 1876. The asymmetrical rectangular building features an entry tower and wood sides. The siding was originally shingle but has been changed to clapboard. The arches seen here give the building its Gothic Revival style. Gothic Revival has historically been the style of choice for a church, including American examples such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
The stained glass for Grace Episcopal came from the old Christ Church in New Orleans. The bell tower is octagonal in shape. Grace Episcopal is one of many examples of the generosity and influence of the Cate family in Hammond.
The church was renamed Grace Memorial Episcopal after the death of Mertie Cate in 1887 to pay homage to her contributions to the congregation and town. The stucco brick tomb of the Cate family can be found in the rear cemetery.
Grace Memorial Episcopal was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.