The beautiful and stately Lavaca Methodist Church has been sold to a Lavaca family and will be renovated into their home.
Monte and Holly Hill purchased the church a couple of weeks ago. This building has been a monument in Lavaca since its construction in 1916. Families that grew up in the church had died out or moved on until only a remnant remained that was too small for the church to survive. It has sat empty for the past couple of years.
The Hill family have been Lavaca residents for eleven years but didn’t grow up here. Monte grew up in Fort Smith and Holly grew up in Oklahoma but has always had family here, including her grandparents John and Sue Morrison. Holly recalls the many times she had visited Lavaca as a child. Holly and Monte have one daughter, Cadence.
“We didn’t set out to specifically buy a church to restore,” said Holly. “We first looked for land to buy and build on but could never find anything right for us. We love old houses but there really aren’t any for sale in Lavaca. We both love the architectural style of this old church so it just seemed like a good match.”
Monte is a salesman by trade but possesses a wide variety of skills, including carpentry (his wife assures.) The first task is to repair some floors and to raise the floor to level from its current sloping hardwood floor in the sanctuary. Eventually, the floorplan will include three or more bedrooms, although the final plan hasn’t been put on paper as of yet.
The Hill’s not only bought themselves a church but got all of the contents to boot. The old oak, partially circular pews in the sanctuary were brought to town from the Fort Smith Baptist Church by horse and wagon in 1916. The pastor of the church in 1916 was Nathan Keller. Many families have lifetimes of memories in this old structure. Old metal signage, church bulletins (one made into a paper airplane), windows, Christmas stars, and even a Santa Claus suit have been found with more to come, they imagine.
It’s a daunting task to remodel any building but this one is one for the books, especially in Lavaca. But Monte and Holly have many friends who have volunteered their time and efforts to make this unique home a dream come true.