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Priceless Pipe Organ Destroyed in Westphalia Church Fire

Photo Church of the Visitation in Westphalia

The more footage I see of the beautiful Church of the Visitation in Westphalia the more I wish I would have hade the chance to attend a service there even if only one time. What an amazing and historical location that is now lost after Monday’s fire. See the recap from Monday’s fire with the button below.

Fire at Church of the Visitation

The craftsmanship of the building and the grounds look amazing in the photos and videos made over the years, but I wish I could have heard the 125-year-old wooden pipe organ playing along with the choir. As reported by Paul J. Gately with News 10, the Church of the Visitation was known as the Notre Dame of Texas. Now all that is left is the aftermath of a horrible fire that rendered the property a total loss.

The organ was able to be used by two players at the same time. One person would pump the organ with the foot pedals leaving the organist free to play the keys and to use the deep bass organ pedals while the assistant controlled the pump. The church’s website credits a Mrs. Theresia Bockholt for the donation of the organ, and documents seem to indicate it’s installation took place in the 1920s and was refurbished in the 1970s. The organ was built by Kilgen and Son, Inc., of St. Louis in 1914.

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The video above is about a 14-minute walkthrough of the church which includes some close-up time with the pipe organ. I suppose one of the lessons learned in this awful fire is that if there is something in Texas that you are interested in seeing or experiencing then DO NOT WAIT. Take that road trip to that historic marker, or check out that attraction with your family. We are only guaranteed today. Take the time to make the most of each day and when you have the chance to see something new, go do it.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Westphalia community. This church was truly a gem in the community that will be greatly missed.

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