Since early this year, the almost 90-year-old Old Saltillo United Methodist Church building has undergone extensive repair and renovation, from foundation and structural corrections to fresh paint and floors. Although the project is not yet totally complete, the church is functional and will open it’s doors for the public for the Old Saltillo Cemetery Memorial Day at 10:30 am on Sunday July 15, 2018. Following an association meeting and progress report, a musical program and memorial tribute, lunch will be spread at noon for all to enjoy. Those who attend are asked to bring a full meal with ample portions for sharing in a buffet style. Drinks, ice, utensils and paper goods will be provided. Seating will be inside and outside under the oaks. You can bring folding chairs and tables for your family if you wish to sit outside. Everyone is encouraged to visit the historic cemetery just across the road from the church.
As part of the program, congregational singing will be led by Mike Briley with piano accompaniment by Lisa Lowry. Guest speaker John Sellers will present a historical program which will include a special presentation concerning the Old Saltillo Cemetery.
The Old Saltillo UMC is an active church, holding worship services every Sunday at 11 am, and is located to the south of Interstate 30 at 664 CR 3357, Saltillo, Texas
In a recent KSST interview about renovations to the historic church, we talked with Vivian Monzingo and Reverend Victor Casad. Mrs. Monzingo is President of the Old Saltillo Cemetery Association and Rev. Casad is District Superintendent of the North Texas Conference of United Methodist Churches, and remarked that back in early 2018 at a church conference, it was decided to go ahead with the necessary repairs and renovations. The church site dates back to mid-1800’s and the present structure is actually the third Methodist church built on the site, where services have been held continuously for over 100 years. A popular overland pioneer route during the 1840’s, the Old Jefferson Trail, passed nearby and brought wagon traffic from the east through Louisiana to Jefferson’s steamboat port, across the prairie to Old Tarrant (Hopkins County’s original seat) and westward to what is now the Dallas area. Though still visible at some points in Saltillo, the Old Jefferson Trail was gradually discontinued after the Red River was dammed and railroads constructed, providing more modern overland transportation.
During the 2018 church renovation process, much of the original building has been preserved as well as it’s 1930’s design. Work completed includes foundation repair and leveling, wall studs reinforced and insulation added, ceiling joists replaced, a new red roof installed, bell tower and steeple preserved, windows and doors replaced, walls and ceiling sheetrocked, new wainscoating added to match original, all electrical wiring replaced with new light fixtures, and central heat and air installed. Mrs. Monzingo noted that “many have worked on the project of rebuilding the structure to preserve history and to honor our ancestors who spent their time and labor to make the existing building possible” She also invites everyone who attends to enjoy cool air conditioning, great speakers and music, and an opportunity to pay respect to the loved ones who are buried in the Old Saltillo Cemetery, with provisions made to serve and enjoy food and fellowship with friends and relatives.