The stone falls into the pond and the ripples radiate outward, both in space and time. And it is so with every action and ramification… including the GRAND OPENING of the new $12.5 million historical museum for San Felipe de Austin State Park.
Forty miles west of Houston, Texas stands the town of San Felipe and the historic site of Stephen F. Austin’s very first colony. It dates back to the early 1820’s, when the first European settlers arrived in Texas. For the past 190 years, the community of 750 souls has been devoted to preserving its historic buildings. The State of Texas preserved the surrounding land as a State Park.
Back in 2006, the church building was greatly in need of repair and needed help. Dr. Christopher Dalrymple of Brenham, Tx had a dream of creating a book, filled with pictures of Old San Felipe de Austin United Methodist Church. Paralleling that dream to preserve the heritage of this land, the Friends of San Felipe de Austin Heritage Site also began working with the Texas State Historical Commission in 2006.
Among those cherished buildings is San Felipe United Methodist Church, Colonial Texas’ oldest continuously functioning Protestant church. Like San Felipe’s other buildings, it was built in the 1840’s and was greatly in need of repair. Dr. Dalrymple was a freemason and member of the Olive Branch Lodge, which was committed to saving this tiny historic church’s historic masonic lodge in its upper floor.
Thus Dr. Dalrymple, Kathryn Tees and I set out to write the San Felipe Secrets Unveiled, the history behind old San Felipe Church. We published in 2008. We sold more than 600 copies throughout the region, donating money to begin San Felipe Church’s renovation fund. We also donated numerous copies to the church for sales to their fundraising.
Through these years, the Friends of San Felipe partnered with the State of Texas to build a new visitor center and museum! The Grand Opening is upon us! CONGRATULATIONS to the Friends of San Felipe for their dedication to commemorating the pioneer spirit of the Republic of Texas and educating generations to come in Texas’ rich history. For more information, click San Felipe de Austin Museum. For an interesting article on the grand opening, click here.