Our Home for Noah's Nursery
969 C Avenue. Coronado, CA 92118
Next to Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church stands Kirk Cottage, the adorable dollhouse-like bungalow for Noah's Nursery, a clean, safe, secure, and nurturing environment for children of both church members and guests. While parents attend worship services or fellowship opportunities on campus, toddlers and infants are in the loving care of well-qualified providers who play with children, direct interactions among the children, read to, pray for & role model Christ-like patience and love. Noah's Nursery accepts children during both Sunday morning and late-afternoon worship services and as required for other special church events.
Kirk Cottage History
Kirk Cottage has been an adaptable and enduring member of the church campus since 1925. Below is the history of Kirk Cottage, edited from Our First 100 Years, a 1988 publication compiled by Elizabeth Huser, as researched and augmented with personal anecdotes by Margaret "Peg" Luedtke, volunteer church archivist.
The history of Kirk Cottage begins, as do all our campus stories, on March 18, 1891, the day that active church member Isabella Graham Babcock, wife of Elisha Spurr Babcock, Jr., donated the church building and four adjoining lots of real estate to the First Presbyterian Church of Coronado. Thirty years later, in March 1921, to honor the memory of Isabel’s parents, John and Sarah Graham, [other records state that Mrs. Graham's name was Susan, not Sarah] the church name changed to Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church or Coronado.
In January 1925, the church installed Reverend Notley Hammock as pastor, and soon after, Pastor Hammock designed and built a modest manse at 969 C Avenue, immediately next to the church sanctuary. Church records do not indicate that the manse bore a name, but in recent years, it has become familiar to church members as Kirk Cottage (kirk is the Scottish word for church). In 1928, the church paid the remainder of the $4,500 cottage mortgage in full. The Hammock family continued to reside in the small manse until December 1938, when Pastor Hammock resigned after 15 years’ service.
In 1939, the Reverend Kenneth Baird Carson became the next installed pastor, a responsibility he would carry for the next 42 years. Pastor Carson, his wife, Frances, and their two young daughters resided in Kirk Cottage through the duration of Carson’s service. Although spatially challenged, Kirk Cottage also served as meeting place for the church women’s circle groups and Crown City Mariners throughout the Carson years. Frances Carson felt that Kirk Cottage was too confining a home for the family of four, but Pastor Carson stood firm, refusing to consider another larger alternative that the church found in the 900 block of Adella Avenue. However, after Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church purchased Hinde House (now Kirk House) in 1953, the pastor finally did agree to relocate his study and the church office to the mansion—then known as the church annex—an arrangement that stayed constant for the next 28 years.
When the Reverend Jon Freeberg followed the retiring Pastor Carson in 1981, the church began remodeling the interior of the second and third stories of Kirk House to provide more adequate space and residential privacy to the pastoral family. John Nunamaker was the church custodian at this time, and John “Duke” Griffin followed Nunamaker as the sexton in January 1983. Kirk Cottage served as residence for each man during his church employment.
Larry Sand became the church caretaker in December 1995, and in February 1996, Larry, his wife, Jo, and their children became the new residents of Kirk Cottage. When Larry resigned his position as sexton to start his own business in 2007, he and his family vacated Kirk Cottage, and renovation began to prepare the manse for its next incarnation.
Both exterior and interior of the bungalow received new coats of paint in a chromatic palette chosen to help establish the cottage’s relationship to other structures on the church property. Eagle Scouts made the painting of hall, dining room, and front room a merit project, and a group of staff and church members tidied the yard. In October 2008, the church re-dedicated Kirk Cottage to Noah’s Nursery and occasional use for meetings of church small groups.