|City/Town: • Terral
|Location Class: • Church
|Built: • ~1940s | Abandoned: • 1990
|Historic Designation: • Abandoned Atlas Foundation Contribution to POK Most Endangered List (2022)
|Status: • Endangered • For Sale
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • Jeff Hodge • Keith Beeson
More and more churches seem to be closing, especially in small towns. Sitting in the middle of Jefferson County is this magnificent jewel with perfectly preserved stained glass, detailed brickwork and almost everything left inside. It is sad that this place that once housed so many people for weddings, events, plays, youth clubs and dinners just left for nature to take back.
One thing that I found rather odd was there was no cornerstone to mark when the church was built. Much of the surrounding area neighbors didn’t seem to know historical info other than their own personal memories. But browsing around on Social Media we stumbled across Mary Millard, a former church member who was able to provide a few photos from her wedding. In addition, she sent us an email detailing her connection with the building and the Methodist church.
Email from Former Member, Mary Millard
I was growing up in the Fleetwood community, we attended church at Fleetwood at the community church, which included all denominations, as I remember. Everything that happened in Fleetwood was held at this church, Christmas parties, dinners, funerals, etc. The church was eventually closed, and we began attending the Methodist Church in Terral. I do remember the Sunday I confessed my faith in God and was baptized there and admitted as a member of the Methodist church, and I believe I was still in elementary school. We are now the United Methodist Church, but then it was just the Methodist Church, Oklahoma Conference. The building was eventually moved to Terral and was remodeled and served as a Community Center there and is located close to the current Methodist Church building.
In fact, my wedding reception and bridal shower were both held in this building. I met my husband when he came as a Student Minister to serve the Methodist Church in June 1958. Student Ministers were always appointed to this church because of its close proximity to Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, so the ministers could attend seminary and serve the church on the weekends through Mondays. I had just graduated high school. I left in August to attend the University of Oklahoma. We started dating in February of 1959 when he came to a Boston Pops concert in Norman. We were married in August of 1960 at the Methodist Church in Terral after he graduated the Seminary in Dallas. His father, Guy C. Millard, also a Methodist minister, performed our wedding ceremony.
He was then appointed to start a new church in Chickasha, while I attended Oklahoma College for Women for a year and then transferred back to OU, where I graduated in 1962. By that time he had been appointed to First Methodist Church in Oklahoma City as the Associate Pastor. I know you don’t need OUR history, but he just does not remember a lot since he only served 2 years there and is now 87 years old!! He does remember the goodness of the people there in the Terral community. The church took very good care of their student ministers, and I believe he may have been the first “single” minister. They did provide a parsonage for him to live in, and he shared his evenings with a little mouse who used to watch TV with him. The mouse was not a pet, but was evidently living somewhere in or around the house and would appear randomly. That’s an old, old story that my husband tells now! We served lots of small communities in our years in Oklahoma, and the people in those towns are the “salt of the earth.” They are kind and caring, and we have lots of wonderful memories of raising our children in those small towns. Wonderful, wonderful people.
My parents continued to attend the Methodist Church in Terral until they moved to another nearby town in 1961 after the Post Office was closed, where my dad served as Postmaster, and the cotton gin that he owned and operated was moved to Terral. According to the centennial history of the Terral communities, the church closed in 1990.
Fred Thomas’, who was raised in Terral, parents and my parents were close friends, and he was my younger sister’s first boyfriend! He has given me permission to send this to you. I can name a few people in the picture, including my husband Glenn and me, my sister and her husband, among others. My memories include Sunday School in the church, many fellowship dinners in the basement, showers, weddings, etc. Ms. Laura Hill was the pianist at the church while I was in high school, and she was a mentor to me and insisted that I play for her when I could. She was a dear lady and even when my mother and I were late to Sunday School and Church, she would get up off the piano bench and motion me down to play for Sunday School and eventually for the church service. I did that until I graduated from high school. I always accuse my husband of marrying me so he would always have someone to play piano in the churches he served!
Want to buy an abandoned church?
Getting in contact with the owner, we discovered he is looking to sell the property and hopes that someone with rehabilitation intentions will purchase it. If you are looking into buying this property, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can put you in touch with the owner. Serious inquiries only, thank you!
Research & Article by AOK Photojournalists Emily Cowan & Michael Schwarz.
Gallery Below of First United Methodist Church of Terral
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