The “Carpenters and Joiners Home America ” was a retirement residence for members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America when it was finished and dedicated in October 1928. When it was at its peak, 370 people lived there, including the first 36 retired carpenters and joiners who moved in the following March.
The number of retirees residing in the house decreased as Social Security benefits increased in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. It was shut down in 1976 because it was no longer needed. In 1980, the First Assembly of God Church bought the land and changed the name to Carpenter’s Home Church.
The previous retirement home served as the location for the church-owned Evangel Christian School, which began classes in 1972. Construction on a 9,000-seat sanctuary began in 1982, and when it opened in 1985, it was one of the biggest sanctuaries in the world.
After the church split in 1989, there was never again a sizable enough congregation to fill the sanctuary. When attendance dropped to 1,000, it became impossible to maintain the church’s buildings, and the church was forced to close.
Daniel Strader, the son of Karl Strader, the founder and senior pastor of Carpenter’s Home Church, was detained in 1994 and subsequently found guilty of stealing about $3 million from investors, most of whom were churchgoers. This may have contributed to the declining membership.
National Home of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Without Walls Church purchased the facility in 2005 for $8 million, renaming it Without Walls Central, but like its previous owners, they had trouble drawing sizable enough congregations to support it. The church last held services in August 2011, before Lakeland Electric cut off its electricity service as a result of late payments.
Without Walls International Church left the Lakeland structure in 2011 after the electricity was turned off due to financial difficulties. Randy White, a co-founder of Without Walls, promised to choose fresh pastors and revitalize the church. That, however, never happened since the church failed to pay the $13 million loan on the land and accrued debts totaling more than $35,000 in code enforcement fines and public service expenses.
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Without Walls International, which had been involved in a legal dispute with Evangelical Christian Credit Union, the California credit union that holds the mortgage on the property, since October 2012, filed for bankruptcy in March 2014.
The former Without Walls Central property was purchased by developers Doug Cook and Anderson for roughly $3.75 million in February 2015. Plans were made to demolish the enormous sanctuary and build independent-living apartments for pensioners in its place.
They also intend to renovate the property’s 115,000 square foot, Mediterranean-style former retirement residence for union carpenters, which was erected in 1929. Residents started to complain about the vandalism near the former retirement school in early 2012. The building had doors and windows that were broken, allowing nearby kids access.
As of March 2015, demolition on the nearby Without Walls church had already started.
The former Without Walls Central property was purchased by developers Doug Cook and Anderson for roughly $3.75 million in February 2015. Plans were made to demolish the enormous sanctuary and build independent-living apartments for pensioners in its place. They also plan to fix up the 115,000-square-foot, Mediterranean-style building that was built in 1929 as a retirement home for union carpenters.
Residents started to complain about the vandalism near the former retirement school in early 2012. The building had doors and windows that were broken, allowing nearby kids access.
Construction of the historic Carpenters and Joiners Home started shortly after the property’s megachurch was demolished in May 2016. The structure has been renovated and is now used as Lake Gibson Village, a senior living facility. View the pictures I took on a private tour of the grounds when the building’s restoration was almost complete.
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