Valley Officials Trying to Move Historic Church

October 20, 2008 8:06:57 PM PDT
The pews from the old Methodist church in Farmersville are stacked on top of each other and the siding has been torn off, but Farmersville officials are hoping to revive the old church and with it, Farmersville's past.Leonel Benavides, the Mayor of Farmersville, says "If this church could speak can you imagine what it would tell us today about the community of Farmersville."

Officials say the church is over 100 years old and was moved to Farmersville from the West side of the valley in the 1930s. In the 1950s it moved again to where it stands now on the corner of Ash and Avery Streets.

Harroll Wiley, with the Farmersville Boys & Girls Club, says "Some of the old stories are that it came here originally many, many years ago on logs, with actual mules and horses, and moved it here."

Officials say it is one of the only buildings to have survived a devastating flood in 1955. Now, they want to move it again in order to preserve Farmersville's history.

The Methodist church moved out of the building about seven years ago and in 2005 the Boys & Girls Club moved in. But they need more room. A couple months ago they moved into a modular next door. The Boys & Girls Club says they still need a bigger facility.

Wiley says "We absolutely exploded. We could not get any more children in here and we need more space."

City leaders have developed plans for a brand new community center, complete with a city library, meeting rooms, a courtyard and a large Boys & Girls facility. But officials want the new facility built on the land where the church stands. They're having a public meeting Monday night to find a new home for the church.

The mayor of Farmersville wants to turn the church into a museum about Farmersville. Mayor Benavides says "If we invest in this community I think the community will invest in itself. I think what we're building here, having the library and a community center, people can see that this belongs to us."

If the city can't find a new home for the church, Tulare County's Mooney Grove Museum has offered to house it. However, city leaders are desperately trying to keep the building in Farmersville.

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