Enloe UMC enhances history with new steeple

Feb 20, 2012

ENLOE - What is a church without a steeple? For the Enloe United Methodist Church a new cross and steeple was a welcome addition.

The congregation hopes this will make the church another notable downtown landmark.

“This was the first one I’ve ever built,” said creator/designer Stephen Russell of RUSCON. “It was a pleasure.”

Russell, a construction laborer of over 40 years, said he spent many hours researching for this project. On his daily travels, he would look for other older churches and their steeples.

“You don’t want a modern-looking steeple,” Russell added. “The louvers were designed to simulate the belfry and the cross is not white. …There will be a light shining on it from two different sides so people will see it at night too.”

This was no ordinary project for Russell, as he is also a member of the church. It was important to save money in the process.

“The key was no crane,” said Russell. The church has a current congregation of about 25 people, so keeping costs low was imperative.

In his design, the steeple was made in four separate sections. Many had always wondered about the structure and the flat stretch of the roof.

“When I finally came up with that design, I said, ‘yes, that’s what we need,’” he noted happily. He gave credit to Todd Crowe for assisting in the construction and assembly.

“We did a practice run at the shop, and it just fell into place,” Russell said. The cross and steeple together stand 16-feet in the air, weighing estimated 600-pounds.

“If I could build another one [steeple] I’d love too,” said Russell, following his month-long endeavor.

Russell, owner of about 70 acres in Enloe, hasn’t always lived in Delta County. In 1992, Russell was the winning bidder for the Corp of Engineer’s office, located on the Cooper Lake Damn.

“I just fell in love with this little town,” said the former Fort Worth resident.

In 1999, Enloe United Methodist Church was declared a historical site by the Texas Historical Commission. The church was assembled as a full station in the early 1870s. After changing locations several times, it was finally relocated in Enloe in 1896, the following year the Texas Midland Railroad arrived.

By 1914, the town boasted two banks, a telegraph office, a restaurant, two general stores, a pharmacy, a seed store, two cotton gins and a bakery.

Following a fire, a new building of worship was erected in 1919, the structure that can be found today. As of 2000, Enloe has a population of 109 people along with notable businesses including a Post Office and a honey farm.

Pastor Stacey Smith of Quinlan makes the weekly trek to Enloe on Sundays for worship services at 9:45 a.m.