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Church in the Wildwood

Written by , published September 29, 2009


Working for Texas Highways has many rewards, but seeing an idea morph into print that is read around the world has to be one of the greatest.

It was especially gratifying to see the Speaking of Texas article I wrote about Texana, the first town in Jackson County, in the July issue since my mother lives near the former town site. She had sparked my interest by telling me about attending a wedding at the 150-year-old Historic Texana Church, one of the few remnants of Texana's existence.

Of course, the magazine business involves collaboration on many fronts, so "my idea" was enhanced by the efforts of others, other editors, the art designer, and, of course, the photographer. In fact, it's thanks to photographer (and TH photo editor) Griff Smith that the print version of this idea morphed into a second reincarnation: a stained-glass depiction of the quaint antebellum church.

My friend Kathleen Martin, who also lives near the old town site, sent me this photo of a stained-glass piece made for her by her 86-year-old father, Ralph Shanafelt, a self-taught stained-glass artist in Seguin. (In addition to creating original works, he stays busy restoring broken stained-glass windows for area antiques stores.) He said he was inspired by the TH article, which I think is pretty cool. I also love the stained glass, which Kathleen now has hanging in her dining room.

We didn't have room in the story to describe the church in detail, but it's beautifully restored, and in its woodsy setting (only a few miles north of its original location), looks like the proverbial Church in the Wildwood. To tour the church, call 361/782-5456:

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