The 1925 constructed First United Methodist Church located at 800 Sidnor at Johnson Street has recently been purchased by Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. The new owner, Chris Kelly is cleaning it out and restoring the building to its grand old glory. For many years the citizens of Alvin watched as the building was occupied to house different organizations and business' which came and went. In recent years the building started to show its age and vandals decided to visit the property to work their mischief.
This building has long been one of my favorites and at one time I fancied myself living there. It has fabulous pinkish stained glass windows, some of which have been broken by vandals. Remarkably the new owner found extra sheets of glass in the basement which were part of the original purchase in case any of the windows were ever broken. The best part is that there are enough glass sheets to restore all of the broken windows.
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum plans to display the owner’s private collection of original manuscripts. I met with Mr. Kelly and he told me he had a receipt for the purchase of goats done on a stone tablet. Now people that is an old receipt! He has many of these museums across the United States and he rotates the documents and manuscripts so that everyone will get to see his collection.
A recent article written by Judy Zavalla in The Alvin Sun, reported that the, “The Karpeles Library is the world’s largest private holding of important original manuscripts and documents. The archives include Literature, Science, Religion, History and Art. Among the treasures are “The original draft of the Bill of Rights of the United States”, The original manuscript of “The Wedding March”, Einstein’s description of his “Theory of Relativity”, The “Thanksgiving Proclamation” signed by George Washington, Roget’s “Thesaurus”, Webster’s Dictionary” and over one million more.”
If you are a history buff you may want to plan a trip to Alvin, Texas to view some of the manuscripts the museum has to offer. Chris hopes to open in the Spring and The Museum hours of operation will be Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on holidays.
This is the best picture I could take without getting ran over!