Telling the stories of Texas with photographs (and words too...)
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church is situated on top of Wuthrich Hill just a few miles east of Taylor, Texas (and a few miles north of US 79). It can be seen for some distance from any approach. It looks like it just belongs there.
But… the building hasn’t always been at that location, and the building that originally served the congregation founded at that location is no longer there (at least in that form). To find out why, let’s head back to the late nineteenth century…
As the last decade of the nineteenth century began, Swiss and German settlers had begun to purchase land east of Taylor. These folks were of Lutheran stock, but the only established Lutheran church in the area was Immanuel on the west side of Taylor, so it was natural that they desired to establish a congregation closer to home.
In 1891, two men in the area both offered to give two and a half acres of land on which to build a church: one plot was offered by a Mr. G. Burkitt offered, and a Mr. Daniel Murphy offered land about two miles east near the community of New Bern. However, the group couldn’t come to an agreement, a part of the group accepted the Murphy offer and established St. John’s Lutheran Church of New Bern. At about the same time, St. James’ Lutheran Church of Wuthrich Hill was established at its present location.
About fifty years later, the two groups (minus a portion of former St. John members who later organized Zion Lutheran Church of Sandoval, which is still active today) came together again: in late 1947, the St. James and St. John congregations merged. They selected the name Prince of Peace for their new congregation and elected to continue at the Wuthrich Hill location. However, the St. John building at New Bern was larger, so it was moved to Wuthrich Hill and placed just south of the St. James building, where it remains in use today.
And what happened to the St. James building? Well, as I said, it’s still there, in a sense. Prince of Peace’s parsonage, which was completed and dedicated in 1949. It was partly constructed using lumber from the dismantled building.
The Prince of Peace web site has extensive information on the history of the congregation:
You can see a scanned photo of the St. James and St. John buildings side by side on the day the St. John building was moved to Wuthrich Hill here: