For more information contact:
Krista Schreiner Gebbia, 512-472-0102 (O)/703-254-3474 (cell)
Shirley Wills, 210-822-2378 (O)/210-365-4488 (cell)
Photos and individual news releases on all sites are available at
Local spokesperson: Pency Floyd, 713-501-3021,
AUSTIN, TEXAS…The Union Missionary Baptist Church in Jefferson is one of nine sites that Preservation Texas, Inc. has named to its ninth annual list of Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places.
“Preservation Texas hopes this listing will bring statewide attention to the efforts of Kaufman County and other local communities struggling to find a way to preserve the tangible reminders of their African-American heritage,” said Jim Ray, president of Preservation Texas, Inc., a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Preservation Texas officials announced the selection on the steps of the Texas State Capitol on March 22.
“The 2012 list highlights historic places that were once commonly found around Texas and that have almost disappeared,” said Ray. “By calling attention to theses sites now, we want to encourage action while there’s still time.”
Ray also noted that Union Missionary Baptist Church, and several other sites on the 2012 list, reflect increased awareness of the importance of historic preservation in small communities. “Passion and determination in these communities are strong, but suburban expansion, coupled with lack of resources and professional guidance present serious challenges,” he said. The Union Missionary Baptist Church sits at 520 Houston Street in historic Jefferson, the location of a church since 1842. The first structure was erected on the site in 1847 and the formal congregation of the Union Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1868. The Houston Street property was subject to violence and turmoil as part of the local backlash from the reconstruction policies and socio-economic upheaval at the close of the American Civil War.
The church was the epicenter of black religious and political activities in Marion County during the Reconstruction. Its story chronicles the deep and often violent racial divide in East Texas after the
The construction of the current church building was not undertaken until 1883 when one of Jefferson’s prominent citizens stepped forward to assist the congregation. The building features a main sanctuary with a bell tower with a few smaller meeting rooms behind it. Separate from the building is an outdoor sunken brick baptismal. The 1883 church building continues to serve as a symbol of the Marion County African-American community identity.
Over the years, the church building has fallen into disrepair as the congregation dwindled. A nonprofit organization consisting of congregation and community members has been hard at
work, holding community meetings and fundraisers, and developing a roadmap for the restoration of the property. The building has been stabilized but much more needs to be accomplished in
order to extend the building’s life and restore the landmark to tell its powerful story.
Sites receiving the Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places designation receive one-on-one consultation in such areas as technical assistance to identify preservation needs and set priorities, fund raising expertise, and assistance in fostering partnerships and building community support.
The complete 2012 list of Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places includes:
Kaufman County Poor Farm
Texas Highway 34 and FM 1388, Kaufman, Kaufman County
Lewis Railroad Hotel
500 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, San Augustine County
203 S. Crockett Street, Seguin, Guadalupe County
Moveable Jail Cell
San Marcos Academy, 2801 Ranch Road 12, San Marcos, Hays County (temporary location)
301 Main Street, Panhandle, Carson County
William Pfluger House
1512 Pflugerville Parkway, Pflugerville, Travis County
715 North Chaparral Street, Corpus Christi, Nueces County
Spettel Riverside House
215 Spettel Road, Lakehills, Bandera County
Union Missionary Baptist Church
520 Houston Street, Jefferson, Marion County
Preservation Texas, Inc. is a statewide nonprofit organization that advocates for preserving the historic resources in Texas. Preservation Texas named its first list of endangered historic sites in 2004. For several sites, inclusion on the list of Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places has resulted in energized conservation efforts, commitments for restoration, and additional funding. Among the sites that have recently benefited are Heritage Plaza, part of the City of Fort Worth’s 112-acre Heritage Park, and built as a project of the Fort Worth Bicentennial Committee (2009 list), and the Austin Woman’s Club, designed by San Antonio architect Alfred Giles (1853-1920) in 1874 with a history of strong ties to Austin’s political and cultural growth (2010 list).
Preservation Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places program is funded by generous grants from the Burdine Johnson Foundation, Texas Historical Commission, and the Partners in the Field Challenge grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and our sponsors. For more information on Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places, visit our Web site at www.preservationtexas.org, or phone Preservation Texas, Inc. at 512-472-0102.