Did you know that May is Historic Preservation Month?

Historic Preservation Month – Church Works + Historic Preservation

Did you know that May is Historic Preservation Month?

In honor of Historic Preservation Month, we would like to highlight some of the historic church projects we have worked on.

First United Methodist Church Dallas

Originally constructed in 1924, First United Methodist Church Dallas is an historically significant building but does not carry a Landmark Designation.  GFF has partnered with the church on various projects since 2008.  Most notable being the creation of a new gathering space in an original courtyard which links together different floor levels and simplifies pedestrian flow and movement through the church complex.  This project received a 2015 Faith and Form Award. A more recent project with the church renovated 46,000 square feet of interior space on four levels of the historic west wing of the complex.  Primarily an interior renovation project, the first floor Developmental Learning Center received a cosmetic facelift, the second and third floor children’s and youth ministry spaces were renovated to make them more functional and efficient, and the church staff offices were relocated to the ground floor.  Much care was taken to honor the past while adding modern efficiencies.  This project received a 2021 Preservation Achievement Award from Preservation Dallas.

St. Paul United Methodist Church

Constructed from 1901 through 1921 by volunteer labor, St. Paul United Methodist Church is designated as a Dallas Historic Landmark in the heart of the Dallas Arts District. GFF worked on a rehabilitation project that included extensive structural stabilization and restoration of exterior masonry, restoration of stained glass, and the addition of an elevator.  The sanctuary was maintained in its historic configuration and original finishes and curved pews were restored, while the fellowship hall, welcome center, and administrative suite were fully reconfigured to better meet the current needs of the congregation. As part of the rehabilitation, many spaces were stripped to the studs, revealing the history of the building and original construction which had been hidden for as long as a hundred years, now refreshed and revitalized.  The project received a 2011 Preservation Achievement Award from Preservation Dallas.

Texas Christian University Robert Carr Chapel

Dedicated in 1953, The Robert Carr Chapel is one of the most recognized and visited buildings on the Texas Christian University campus.  GFF focused on increasing the flexibility, usability, and accessibility of the space, as well as providing an update to the interior finish palette.  This was achieved by expanding the chancel platform into the nave, making the platform furnishings and first two rows of pews reconfigurable, and adding a wheelchair lift.  A new accessible restroom and vesting room were added and an existing restroom in the narthex was enlarged.  The interventions also included improvements to lighting, acoustics, and audio/visual technology.  The result is a renovation of the chapel which remains respectful of its history on the campus while allowing maximum use of the facility.  The Board of Historic Fort Worth presented this project with a 2018 Preservation Project Award.

Wheatland United Methodist Church

Originally constructed in 1859 with an addition in 1912, Wheatland Church is the oldest Methodist church west of the Trinity River.  The church was designated as a Recorded Texas Landmark in 1965.  At the start of rehabilitation, the church was not being used due to safety concerns because the sanctuary ceiling, original rear wall (now interior), and exterior walls showed significant deflection and structural distress.  After re-leveling the building perimeter structure, new engineered wood members and new steel columns were introduced.  Once exposed and braced, the framing was incrementally brought back into plumb and new framing added.  Sagging long-span joists were also replaced by new laminated veneer joists.  New wall panels custom made to match the earlier profile were installed, sanctuary coffer beams reconstructed, and new ceilings were installed.  Three windows in the choir previously concealed from the interior, were exposed in the renovation. The project received a 2017 Preservation Achievement Award from Preservation Dallas.

If you are considering a church, adaptive reuse, or historic preservation project, let’s talk about how GFF can help you achieve your vision.


Stephen Pickard at stephen.pickard@gff.com
Jacquelyn Block at jacquelyn.block@gff.com

Jon Rollins at jon.rollins@gff.com
Chris Andersen at chris.andersen@gff.com

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