Shiloh Baptist Church, known today as Amory Memorial Chapel, is located near Port Boca Grande Lighthouse in Gasparilla Island State Park. It was built in 1959 by Louise and Roger Amory for the Black community who lived on Gasparilla Island. Tarpon Estates, the housing area for many of the Black community, was located in what is now the parking lot of the chapel. The Black community lived there from about 1960 until 1981. Many left in 1979 after the phosphate loading facility closed down. The others left in 1981 after a series of floods condemned the existing homes and sent the remaining community to Englewood and other off-island towns.
The Amorys also built and endowed the Johann Fust Community Library in the village of Boca Grande; the library owned the chapel until 1986 when it was donated to the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association (GICIA).In 1987, GICIA gave the chapel to the State of Florida, and it became part of Gasparilla Island State Park. In 1996 the chapel, which had stood vacant and unused for more than a decade, was restored with funds from GICIA, the Boca Grande Woman’s Club, Lee County Historic Preservation Board, and The Venice Foundation and BIPS.
In 1998, Barrier Island Parks Society (BIPS), which operates Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum, took over the administration of rentals of the chapel for meetings and events. Today all proceeds from the rental program benefit the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum and BIPS’ four affiliated state parks. If you are interested in renting the chapel for your special event, please call 941.964.0060.