History of the
First Christian Memorial, Inc.
This "Little White Church with the Steeple" has been a familiar landmark for Grapeland residents and visitors for over 100 years. The building itself was constructed in 1895 at a different location not too far away on a lot donated by Mr. J.F. Martin. The beautiful old structure was the handiwork of early day settlers Charlie Walling and J.N. Story.
In 1915, the church membership voted to move the church building to another location near downtown Grapeland. The new property had been donated to them by Mr. T.H. Leaverton, a local lumberman and builder. History tells that when the attempted move began, they had gotten little more than across the street before realizing that it would be impossible to move the 20-year-old structure to the proposed lot without destroying it. It was standing near the present site when efforts to move it were halted. So church members set about to purchase those lots instead. That was accomplished on March 4, 1915, when the deed was signed by church trustees J.E. Hollingsworth, J.S. Yarborough and E.W. Davis with land owners W.G. Darsey and George E. Darsey, Sr.
For many, many years, the church served the spiritual needs of this community, its church family and friends. The building medallion on the front of the building was dedicated during Grapeland's centennial in 1972.
But the years took their toll... In the fall of 1990, the dwindling membership decided to disband but they did not want to permanently close the doors to their beautiful historic structure. With an eye toward a community chapel and meeting place where weddings, funerals, showers, reunions and other such events could be held, some of the members set about to form an organization dedicated to the preservation and continued community use of the facility.
Those efforts resulted in the establishment of a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation known as First Christian Memorial, Inc. of Grapeland. It was officially chartered November 1, 1990, for the purpose of maintaining the Recorded Texas Historic Landmark building and continuing its community use. Funds for it maintenance and necessary utilities are made through membership dues, building rental fees, memorials and special admission programs, which First Christian Memorial, Inc. may sponsor during the year. A volunteer board of directors oversees the responsibilities of the building.
Building rentals for special events may be arranged by contacting a member of the board.