Historic 124-year-old Central Texas church burns to ground

Area volunteer firefighters put out hot spots Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Church of the Visitation in Westphalia, Texas. The historic church founded in 1883 burned to the ground in an early morning fire. The cause of the fire is unknown. (Jerry Larson/ Waco Tribune Herald via AP)

WESTPHALIA, Texas (AP) — A historic rural Roman Catholic church that had served its surrounding Central Texas farming community for more than a century has burned to the ground.

Photos posted on the Austin Catholic diocesan Facebook page show the Church of the Visitation in Westphalia fully involved in flames Monday morning, being reduced to nothing more than ashes.

The parish has served the faithful of southwestern Falls County, many of them immigrants from the northwest German region of Westphalia, since 1883. The church building dated to 1895 and was said to be the largest all-wood church in the state. Its stained-glass windows, more than 20 in all, were shipped to Westphalia from Germany.

No injuries were reported. A statement from the diocese says the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Westphalia is a community of about 190 residents about 70 miles northeast of Austin. The Church of the Visitation has 244 members.

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