Old Church

Farmers Branch had the first Methodist church in Dallas County, founded in 1845 by Isaac Webb in his log cabin. A Texas State Historical Marker dedicates the original site of this church, located on Webb Chapel road between Selma and Veronica near Webb Chapel Cemetery. One year earlier, Thomas Brown, a Methodist circuit rider, gave the first sermon in the area in 1844 at the cabin of W. M. Cochran. In 1846, the congregation built a log church 18 feet square with a wooden floor. The first school in the community was held in this church. In 1903, a white church, much like this one, was built at Valley View Lane and Dodson Parkway, using some of the original timbers from the log church. The present Webb Chapel United Methodist Church was built in 1955 and again incorporated the timbers from the 1846 log church.
The Old Church at the Historical Park is from Renner, Texas, a town established in 1888 as a stop on the Cotton Belt Railroad Line. In the present day, the area is just west of Coit Road, not far from Frankford Road. The town of 50 people was named for John A. Renner, the engineer in charge of developing the sites along the railroad. The first postmaster was Frank W. Jackson, who later donated the land on which our Methodist Church, a parsonage, barn, and vegetable garden were all built. The deed was signed in 1887. Around 1888 a large, two-story school house was built. It’s now located at Dallas Heritage Village.

The Methodist Congregation organized in 1891. The church was apparently dedicated on May 18, 1898, according to the Dallas Times Herald. There was no preacher in 1898; instead, a circuit rider gave services for a congregation of 221. Records show that services in the church were discontinued in 1957. The church was briefly re-opened in 1965, but services were again discontinued in 1967. The church was then used as a wallpaper store. Renner, Texas was incorporated into the city of Dallas in 1983. The church building was moved to the Historical Park in 1985, and restored in July 1988.

The Church is furnished and interpreted for the years 1890-1900. Unlike modern churches, there was probably little furniture in the church: a pulpit, pews, a pump organ, and later a piano. Kerosene lamps were used to provide light and air could be circulated by opening the windows and using hand-held fans. A potbelly stove would have provided heat in the winter. Two rooms on either side of the main aisle were Sunday school classrooms. The pastor’s study was added when the church was updated in 1914. Attending church was often a day-long event, when families could meet other families and friends in the community.

Services were not held every Sunday because the early ministers were circuit riders who were responsible for several churches. In spring and summer, citizens organized camp meetings or revivals and preaching was done outside under brush arbors or tents.

When the church was used as a wallpaper store, Mrs. Grinns worked for the owner Mr. Blankenship and purchased the original pulpit from him for the cost of one cent. Mrs. Grinns later moved to Toronto, Canada where she used the pulpit as a bookstand. After learning the church had been restored, the Grinns family brought the pulpit from Toronto and donated it to the park.
Garden Wedding.JPG

Wedding Rental

Today, along with tours, the church is also available for wedding ceremonies and events, along with other areas throughout the park. But this historic spot is a particularly beautiful setting for your vintage-style wedding.

Schedule an appointment today to view the inside of the church and book your wedding here at the Farmers Branch Historical Park. View the Historical Park Rental Information or call 972.919.8730 for more.