Tragic news from Westphalia, as the historic Church of the Visitation was engulfed in flames Monday morning.

Fire Departments from across Central Texas, including Troy and Temple, tried to save the historic building in the 300 block of County Road. High winds worked against them, and the structure was a total loss. Members of the church were able to save the tabernacle, but little else. Christie Soto with News 10 reports the flames quickly overtook the sanctuary and columns of smoke could be seen five miles away.

The church dates back to the late 1800s and contained some 20 pieces of stained glass in the windows that all came to Texas by way of Germany. The sanctuary is built in the shape of a Latin cross and the largest piece of stained glass showed a depiction of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin. There have been multiple renovations since 1895.

In 1978 the church added a Texas Historical Marker. The church along with the 5.500 acres that surround it were added to the Rural Historic District and the National Register of Historic Places.

The latest reports from our partners at KWTX News 10 are that the church has indeed burned to the ground. Westphalia is East of Temple in Falls County.

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