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First United Methodist Church

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1911, J. M. Hyde. 216 W. Main St.

This is the building with which the Edna Theater entered competition for visual dominance at this intersection. The oldest religious congregation in Jackson County, the Methodist congregation, which began in Texana in the 1830s, constructed this church just after the county's second-oldest congregation, the Presbyterians, completed their ambitious new church that faces S. Hanover Street ( BE42). The Presbyterians went to Waco for their architect, the Methodists to Shreveport, Louisiana. A square-planned building faced with scalloped parapets on the W. Main and N. Allen streets elevations, the Methodist church has a dominant tower capped by an octagonal spire where the two streets intersect and a secondary tower on the southeast corner of the Main Street front. Not to be outdone, the Allen Street side elevation features a rear appendage with its own scalloped gable. The corner tower can be seen from the U.S. 59 overpass eight blocks away. In place of architectural ornament, three shades of buff brick are employed. Exuberant rather than refined, the First Methodist Church was clearly as much an expression of civic pride as religious piety.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Gerald Moorhead et al.

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