Serving the Episcopal Community of Pacific Grove and the Monterey Peninsula since 1887

Virtual Tour


St. Mary's was the first church building constructed in Pacific Grove. The parish was founded on Annunciation Day, March 25, 1886, by a small group of women who formed St. Mary's Guild. The church itself was built in 1887 on land donated by the Pacific Improvement Company. The Rt. Rev. William I. Kip, first Episcopal Bishop of California, presided at its dedication held July 10, 1887. Architect for the church was William Hamilton of Sacramento.
In 1911, the church was significantly enlarged by splitting it in half and adding the choir and first two bays on a plan devised by Lewis P. Hobart, architect for Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. The parish hall was designed by architect Ernest Coxhead and constructed in 1893. In 1991 the hall was dedicated to Fr. Dwight W. Edwards, who became Rector in 1973. Both the church and Edwards Hall are constructed of No. 1 grade redwood beams and siding, with redwood wainscoting, a common building material at the turn of the century, but virtually unobtainable at any price today. The interior of the church includes woods of pine, cedar, fir, and walnut. The chancel rail is of oak and the bas-relief reredos carving at the memorial altar is of camphor wood.

Clay Hall, named for the Rev. Dr. Albert E. Clay (rector 1926-1936), was built in 1965 to a design by local architect, John Taras, on the site of the former rectory.

The church and Edwards Hall underwent extensive maintenance repairs in 1976 and 1993. Several of the stained glass windows have been removed, one by one, to be cleaned and re-leaded by Milligan Glass of Santa Cruz.  The Annunciation window over the main altar contains more than 3000 pieces of glass. This window designed and created in 1894 by Bruce Porter of San Francisco, took six months and 400 man-hours of work in 1980 to clean and reinstall.
An addition was made to the Church building itself in 1984. The ramp which leads to the 13th Street door was funded as a memorial to Lucile Killingsworth Mann whose concern and work for others was a witness in the Parish for more than 40 years. In 1993 the church roofs in four layers (including one layer from 1910) were removed, and a new roof was installed. Interior tie bars now strengthen the shell of the building.
The porch entry of the church was added to the original building during the 1911 reconstruction. The stairway to your left leads to the bell tower, and the bell therein was one of the first gifts to the parish, donated before the church itself was built.
The door directly to the front leads to the north aisle. The church is assumed to face east. In this church the main altar is actually at the southeast point; this is called "liturgical East." The stained glass windows on the north wall are all gifts to the parish, and in order toward the altar they are:
Visit of the Magi
  • A pair of windows depicting the Magi at the stable of Bethlehem with the Holy Family, made in 1935 by Elwood Potts in Philadelphia in memory of Agatha Few.
Loaves and Fishes
  • A pair of windows depicting two of the Evangelists - St. Mark and the Parable of the Sower, and St. Luke and the Miracle of Loaves and Fishes - made in 1941 by Charles J. Connick in Boston, in memory of Etta Elliot Olmsted.
1887 Original
  • This pair of windows is one of the three pair remaining of the original glass in the 1887 building. They are in memory of Margaret and Anita Polhemus and were designed and made by a now unknown San Francisco firm.
  • A pair of windows: one depicting St. Matthew and St. John with the scene of the Resurrection, the other is St. Thomas with the risen Christ made in 1954 by the Cummings Studios in San Francisco, in memory of Emily Cady Gratiot and William March Gratiot.
  • The famous Louis C. Tiffany windows given in 1922 by Cyrus H. McCormick in memory of his wife Harriet. Married at St. Mary's in 1889, the McCormicks, of the great McCormick farm machinery fortune, were generous benefactors of the church all of their lives.

Turning to the right, the pulpit is among the original church furnishings. The choir and congregation pews bearing fleur de lis (one of the most popular symbols for Mary) and three intertwining circles (symbolizing the equality, unit and co-eternal nature of the Trinity); the lectern to the right of the three Trinity Steps; the oak and wrought-iron altar rail; the Altar; and the bishop's chairs, are all part of the furnishings given and in place on July 10, 1887.
The crosses, candlesticks, vases and vestments are memorial gifts given by members of the congregation over the years. The needlepoint cushions for the altar rail were handmade by the late Dorothy Nicholas. The banners, one on each side of the altar area, are the work and gift of present day parish and former members. The pomegranate banner is by the late Henrietta Pearce and the Mary banner is the work of Jane Snibbe. Various memorial plaques, commemorating the lives and witness of some of the parish's laity and clergy, represent for us the faith and service given in each generation. 
The East Window above the altar was designed and made by Bruce Porter in 1894 and was given in memory of Deaconess Helen Elizabeth Reed, a member of the founding Guild. The window depicts the Annunciation; the Angel Gabriel is holding a lily, the symbol of purity, as he appears to the Blessed Virgin to announce that she will be the mother of the Christ Child. Mary sits on a stone chair with a view of Monterey Bay behind her as seen from the front of the church. The Bible in her lap is open to the passage in Isaiah which foretells the coming of the Christ.
Memorial Altar Past the lectern on the south side of the church is the Memorial Altar, dedicated to those who have served in the nation's armed forces. The cross and altar were given after the First World War in memory of those in the parish who had served, and the four men of St. Mary's who had given their lives in that conflict. 
The reredos behind the altar was designed by Sigismund Wolf of Carmel in 1968, and the carving done by craftsmen in Taiwan, who presented to St. Mary's as their own gift the Stations of the Cross which line the north and south walls of the church. The reredos depicts the life of Mary, learning at the knees of her mother, St. Anne; the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel; finding the boy Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem; the Crucifixion; and the central panel depicting the presentation by Mary of her Son to all people. The altar frontal is the work of Mrs. Nicholas and is embroidered in "Mary blue" on the white, bearing the initials "MR" for Maria Regina: Mary, Queen of Heaven.
The windows of the south wall, in order toward the nave are:
Christ and Warrior
  • Christ standing on the Wheel of Eternity with attendant angels, light and fire at his feet, and a warrior saint in 15th Century armor bearing a crosier, designed by Elwood Potts of Philadelphia in 1935, in memory of Daniel B. Fifield and Matilda V. Fifield.
Dove and Lamb
  • A pair of windows depicting the Holy Spirit as a dove, descending from heaven, and a lamb symbolizing Christ, in memory of Emily Jenison Dills and Jenny Miriam Page, two of the founding members of the Parish.
  • The presentation of Christ in the Temple with St. Mary, St. Joseph, St. Simon and St. Anne, designed by Elwood Potts in Philadelphia in 1935, in memory of Charles R. Few.
  • A pair of windows depicting two of Christ's healing miracles: the woman sick for 12 years and the blind man made to see, by the Cummings Studios in San Francisco in 1954, in memory of William Henry Henley Chapman and Margaret McCaskey Chapman.
1887 Original
  • This pair of windows is one of the three pair remaining of the original glass in the 1887 building.

The (liturgical) west wall of windows has as its central theme the lily. These windows were designed by Bruce Porter.

The lovely figure of the Madonna was hand carved in Italy and given in 1981 in memory of Erik Olinger.

The font at the nave entrance is of Italian marble and was one of the first gifts to the church, presented in 1887.

The clergy and congregation of St. Mary's hope you have enjoyed your visit, and that before you leave you will add your prayer to those of the thousands of people who have worshipped in this place.

Sunday Services
  8am Rite I
  10am Rite II
      (Contemporary language)
      Choral Eucharist
Please join us for Coffee Hour after the Sunday service. 
Fr. Richard Leslie
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For additional information on this site, please contact Jeff DeMarco, the Site Manager
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