The First Hundred Years
The settlement of Argyle was developed in the Eastern Cross Timbers area of Texas, a thin wedge of dense growing trees that stretched from Waco north to the Red River. The first settlers arrived about 1850. By l867, 14 families were living in what was called the Peters Colony development which predated the town. Peters was the name of the development corporation which brought new settlers into the region. Settlers did not pay cash for their land, but were required to live on the land three years, cultivate 10 to 15 acres, have their land surveyed and plainly marked, and build a good and comfortable cabin.
Between 1880 and 1882, Texas and Pacific Railroad laid track from Aubrey through Denton and Roanoke on to Fort Worth. On October 17, 1881, Argyle officially became a town, organized to serve the railroad. The depot and settlement houses were built on West Front Street, just opposite Denton Street. A large portion of downtown Argyle burned to the ground in 1895 in a fire which began in a dry goods store and swept through neighboring buildings. In 1910, a number of buildings were destroyed when a tornado ravaged the community.
Argyle Methodist Church – Founded in 1894
The railroad brought people, business and the mail to Argyle – and with people come churches. Rancher Henry Johns had a fine well frequented by travelers passing through the area. The well took on special significance in l884 as the water source for the annual “Brush Arbor Camp Meetings” sponsored by Prairie Mound Methodist Church. Today, a historical marker at Johns Well tells the story of its importance in the church life of the area. Over the years, the site, about two miles west of Methodist Hill, hosted many family reunions, praying, singing, repenting, playing, eating and recreation events each year to celebrate the end of harvest. Many years later, Prairie Mound Methodist Church became part of Argyle Methodist Church.
Argyle Methodist Church was chartered in 1894 with twenty-seven members. The first pastor was Reverend Blueford Henry Webster, a Methodist circuit rider from Mississippi. Early worship services for the congregation were conducted in the Argyle schoolhouse. In 1898, Church trustees purchased land atop “Methodist Hill” from the Texas and Pacific Railroad. The first sanctuary, a frame structure, was built soon afterward during the pastorate of Reverend J. R. Atchley who completed much of the carpentry work with the assistance of other church members. They drove six wagons to the Dallas planning mill to bring back lumber to build the pews. Two of the original pews remain in the church on Methodist Hill. In 1912 members acquired a parsonage on the northeast corner of Denton and Cypress Streets. Having a parsonage allowed the circuit riding minister to conduct Sunday morning services at his home church and then go in the afternoon to other churches.
The Graham Baptist Church, established in 1876, moved to Argyle in 1891. During the early years, neither the Methodists nor the Baptists in Argyle could afford a full time preacher, so the pulpit was filled one Sunday by a Methodist preacher, the next by a Baptist. “We all just went wherever they were holding the praying and singing,” according to one resident. For 78 years, Argyle Methodist shared a minister with other small congregations on a circuit.
Argyle Methodist Church Expands – Again and Again
Over the years, Argyle Methodist Church expanded. Adjoining property was acquired by trustees in 1947 and in 1973. A brick sanctuary was constructed in 1969 east of the original structure, and an education building was added in 1972. This enlarged sanctuary and the educational building with a permanent parsonage and growing congregation signaled the end of the circuit preacher. Ministers from then on were appointed to the Argyle United Methodist Church by the North Texas Annual Conference.
Argyle United Methodist Church – Moving With Vision
Church membership continued to grow and, by the year 2003, the church had added three portable buildings and exhausted all means of expansion at its present location. A committee was formed to look at the needs of the church for the next 20 years. This committee laid the groundwork for a site selection committee to consider moving the church to a new campus. The church began acquiring land and, by 2005, had acquired six tracts comprising 20 contiguous acres on Highway 377 just a few miles to the north where it would develop a new campus. In 2006, the church voted to sell the existing church property on Methodist Hill to help fund future growth.
The first worship service in the new building was conducted on Palm Sunday, 2009. The first phase consist of 18,000 square feet – nearly two times the size of the church on Methodist Hill. The new structure includes a multipurpose worship space, nursery, kitchen, classrooms, restrooms and staff offices, as well as a large parking lot. Phase II, which broke ground early 2012, will provide classroom and worship space for children and youth ministries. Other phases for the campus will be developed in the years ahead to handle further church expansion.
From its humble beginnings over 100 years ago when 27 individuals followed God’s call to establish Argyle Methodist Church, today a new generation of faithful followers looks forward to a second hundred years of ministry and service to the Argyle community, by opening the doors of the new church campus to share God’s love with one another. Welcome to Argyle United Methodist Church.
(Compiled from church histories by Charlotte Guest and the Rev. George A. Lewis.)