This image came across my Facebook feed today and made me laugh:
…and then I saw this comment:
This is The Church By The Sea in Madeira Beach FL. The owl/chicken/bird…whatever you see was intentional. It was a fishing town and there was a tale of a bird that watched out for the fishermen. When the church was built, they put the bird there as a symbol. The light would stay on until all the fishermen came home.
Which sounded really sweet, and possibly too good to be true. So I went searching and found absolutely no mention of this legend, not on the church’s Facebook page and not on their own website.
What I did find, on Atlas Obscura, was the basis for that story. When the church was built, its tower — with a mast and beacon on top — was the tallest thing in town, and the beacon was indeed meant to act as a nautical landmark.
The bird bit? Totally accidental. That said, the church attracts many tourists precisely for its famous tower, and it has embraced the image in its logo:For an accident of architectural design, it’s fortuitous. Honestly, I’m thinking more churches should start incorporating such friendly, inviting design. How does anyone go by this without smiling and feeling just a little better about their day?