WHITESBORO, TX-A family works together to restore a century old church to its former glory in downtown Whitesboro decades after it was abandoned.
Rod Parker, along with the Paty family, bought the Old Church on Main Street in Whitesboro three months ago. It's been abandoned for almost 50 years.
"Whenever I was able to walk through here and I saw the integrity of the building and saw what we had to work with, everything in me said it's now the time and it's the right time to do it," he said.
Parker and his family have been working non-stop to restore the old building. They've rebuilt the roof and bell tower and they're working on preserving the original stained glass windows, floors and upgrading the 145-year-old building to be ADA compliant.
Parker found some interesting stuff as he was cleaning up the Old Church. He found ticket stubs and signs dating back from the early 1900's, but he said the most precious find of all is one stained glass window.
"When this thing fell in when it caved in, there was a piece of stained glass that fell on the ground and it was not broken at all and it had a cross in it," he said.
Parker said people have been passing by to share their memories in the Old Church. One of them was the Chamber of Commerce's Barbara Bailey, who attended her best friend's wedding in the church before it closed down.
"If I could've done a back flip, I assure you I would've done a back flip. Exciting is just an understatement. It is the best thing, one of the best things that has happened to Whitesboro in a long time," she said.
"We want to see it move further into the future. We want to give back to the community and make a difference," Parker said.
The Old Church will open to the public at the Peanut Festival, October 19th.
Parker has already spent thousands of dollars on the project and he's looking to buy a new bell. Once the restoration project is finished, it will serve as a church and event center. It will be named "The Pearl."
To donate, visit "The Pearl--Old Church Restored" website at http://oldchurchrestored.org/