LUBBOCK, Texas — A church could be spotted making its way to the national ranch heritage center via the loop this afternoon. This church will be the museum’s newest addition to the over 50 historical structures they have on display.
“As part of the Ranching Heritage Center, we try to tell the story of ranching, and part of the story we have been missing is a church,” said Director of Collections, Exhibits, and Research at the National Ranching Heritage Center, Dr. Scott White.
The one-room church from Spur Ranch in Brownfield is complete with the original altar, podium and pews, and was able to be loaded onto a truck in one piece. After a year of planning, the route was planned so that the church could pass under the only loop overpass tall enough to accommodate the building, reaching just 8 inches over its roof.
“It’s a big accomplishment. It’s something that’s been on the wish list for the center since it started,” said White.
After raising $100,000 to cover the moving costs of the church, they were able to load the building onto a truck and start its journey.
“That was very quickly done. We had 11 donors who were very generous, and people really wanted to see a church here,” said Communication Coordinator for the National Ranching Heritage Center, Sue Jones.
The church had a police escort, and several power companies came out to help move power lines out of its way.
It took several hours to move, finally arriving at the heritage center Wednesday afternoon.
Once it is restored, the church will be the Ranching Heritage Center’s 52nd historical exhibit.
“This is a different building than brought in any time before this,” said White.
And they are hoping that with this new piece, they will be able to complete the story of ranching heritage they hope to tell.
“It’s the fact that people who were settling in this land and who live miles and miles apart it’s that this is the gathering place,” said Jones.
This church also has a special connection with Texas Tech in that Clifford Jones, the third president of Texas Tech, was the ranch manager when the church was built. According to the Ranching Heritage Center, he had always hoped the church would end up in their hands.