Field Trip Friday was awesome this last Friday guys! I started out with one point of interest as my destination and ended up with way more! I’m getting ahead of myself, lets cover one thing at a time shall we?

There seems to be a trend in the subject matter of my blogs the last month or so, if you’ve been reading them I’m sure you’ve noticed.  I’m hoping it’s ok because it’s something I’m super in to so you’ll be seeing a lot more, especially with October approaching.  I’m super into abandoned old places, houses, buildings, factories, churches, convents ect…and all the history that goes along with them.  However in our area places like that are fairly rare.  Oh sure, you may come across a few gems here and there, like the would-be mansion in Gardendale and some buildings down town, which are interesting don’t get me wrong. The thing is  these buildings are all of this century.  It’s not very often you find out that just a short 20 minute drive from where you live sits a convent built in 1882 and it’s still standing. This place is amazing and absolutely gorgeous! According tohttp://www.historiccarmelitemonastery.com/2.html a small band of Carmelite monks were one of the earliest groups of people to settle and take advantage of the cheap land offered by the railroad in what is now Martin County. In 1881, with the purpose of founding a monastery and a German Catholic Colony, Carmelite monks began the first Catholic Church between Fort Worth and El Paso.  The adobe and brick monastery was completed in 1884 and St. Joseph’s Church in 1885.  Sisters of Divine Providence opened a short lived school in 1887.  It was reopened in 1894 by the Sisters of Mercy.  In 1897, the Carmelite Monks disbanded and sold the property to the Sisters of Mercy.  They operated a convent academy until abandonment in 1938 (due to a tornado on June 11, 1938).  All that remains now are the dormitory, ruins of the other buildings and the cemetery (I didn’t realize there was a cemetery there as well or I would have taken pictures of it too).  The 1884 adobe monastery building and grounds are currently in the process of being renovated with the hopes of promoting the history of the monastery and Our Lady of Mercy Academy through an interpretive/educational center and Texas native plant garden.  I’ve included some site that have way more information on the building and the town itself.  The whole story of the Carmelite Monks making their way here is pretty interesting, apparently they were renegades.

Most importantly I would like to make sure it is known that I gained permission from the members of  Martin County Convent, Inc.   Without that permission I would have been trespassing and considering the amount of surveillance cameras throughout the property I, or anyone else caught on the property without permission would have and will likely be arrested.  What I’m saying is that this is a beautiful and rare, historic building and there are individuals and organizations that work very hard to help insure that it’s preserved and protected so unless you have express permission please keep off this property.  For more information on preservation and restoration visit the website at http://www.martincountyconvent.com/ .

Oh, and feel free to watch me get scared and bolt like a little kid after thinking I was brave enough to go down in the cellar. The video is at the end.


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