Historical Churches That Grace Downtown Texarkana
For as long as I can remember, Texarkana has been known for its beautiful historical churches. Throughout the years, generations have prayed and worshiped in these churches that are a staple in our community. So I thought I would highlight a few churches that grace the downtown area.
St. Edward's Catholic Church
This church will always have a special place in my heart since this is where I grew up with my family and where was an altar boy. This church was named after the Patron Saint, St. Edward the Confessor, son of King Ethelred III and who built St. Peter's Abbey in Westminster, England where he is buried. St. Edward's Catholic Church was founded on June 20, 1903, with its first Mass celebrated in the Miller County Courthouse. On Christmas Day Dec. 25, 1903, a framed chapel on Fourth and Hickory Streets was dedicated and a first Mass was celebrated there. In 1923 the new church was built and modeled after the Church of The Most Holy Trinity at the Top of the Spanish steps in Rome. Graced with a beautiful Carrara marble altar and stone statues. There are four large stain glass windows that represent the seven holy sacraments of the Catholic faith. This church has a bell tower that still rings out in the community.
First United Methodist Church
The church was organized on Dec. 14, 1902 inside the Miller County Courthouse with only 47 members. Lots were eventually secured and plans were agreed upon to build the church at its present location at 400 East 6th Street in 1903. The First United Methodist Church is made of brick and stone with a concrete foundation and slate roof. The interior consists of wood columns and soft pastel colors throughout surrounded by beautiful huge stain glass windows on both side of the church. A balcony seats more worshipers and gives great views of the sanctuary, choirs, and pipe organ below. A large portion of this church was destroyed in a fire several years ago but thanks to the community and its congregation the church was re-constructed to its original beauty.
Beech Street First Baptist Church
This is probably one of the most unique churches in the downtown area. Because of its architectural design, as a child I always thought it resembled the our nation's Capitol because of its domed steeple. On April 10, 1904, a meeting was held in the Miller County Courthouse for the purpose of organizing a Baptist church. The name of Beech Street First Baptist Church was then voted on and adopted. This all came to pass because trustees of the Olive Street Baptist Church were instructed to sell off all its property formed in 1889 to benefit a new church. The frame building, formerly occupied by the Olive Street Baptist Church and built in 1893, was moved from 8th and Olive Streets, Texarkana, Texas, to 6th and Beech Street, Texarkana, Ark. in April 1904, where the church currently resides.
First Presbyterian Church
Organized in 1894 by residents from Texas and Arkansas who met in a building at Third and Maple Streets. In 1904, they withdrew to form and organize the First Presbyterian Church. There were 187 charter members who worshiped in the Methodist Church at Fourth and Hazel, which is now being used by the Salvation Army. In 1905, the church was built at its present location at 516 Pecan Street. In 1986, the Bell Tower with its ring of eight bronze bells cast by the Taylor Foundry, England, was furnished through memorials and generous gifts from members. Ringers from all over the country and England come to the church occasionally for a Change Ringing Festival. The church also features a Casavant pipe organ that was installed in 2000. A grand piano is also located in the sanctuary to enhance its music ministry.
There are so many other churches in the area that are just as historical but I wanted to focus on these four churches due to the proximity of their location within blocks of one another. These are some of my personal favorites.