The first churches in the Burnet and Llano county areas were led by traveling preachers who set up worship under trees, along creekbeds or in schools. The earliest recorded church meetings were held by Christians in Sycamore Springs and by 20 Mormon families who settled at Mormon Mills in 1851. Some of those churches are still standing and even holding Sunday services.Burnet County
Crownover Chapel in Backbone Valley in Fairland near Marble Falls is believed to be the first church building constructed in Burnet County. It was completed in 1870. The church is named for the Rev. Arter Crownover of Methodist Episcopal Church South.
In 1859, Mrs. Senia Barton Harvey, an heir of settler Jefferson Barton, left a seven-acre tract for a Methodist church and school. The settlers began work on a stone building but had to stop when the Civil War began. After the building was finished following the war, the Rev. Crownover conducted the first service.
The lot and house were named Crownover Chapel during the third quarterly Methodist conference for Lampasas, Bear Creek Circuit. The rock building eventually had another wooden room added and was used as a school for many years. The wooden room was later removed.
To visit Crownover Chapel, travel six miles north of Marble Falls on FM 1855 to Fairland.
What is now Trinity United Methodist Church of Castell began as a worship service on the north side of the Llano River in 1852. The service was held by the Rev. Charles A. Grote of Methodist Episcopal Church South in Fredericksburg.
A parsonage church was built for the Rev. Grote in 1871. The bell was added in 1891. The first part of the current church building was constructed in 1900. The current parsonage was built in 1908.
The original Castell church joined with Hoersterville Methodist Episcopal Church to form Trinity Methodist Church in 1939. The Hoersterville church, which was built in 1885, was torn down and reassembled in Castell as the current education building and fellowship hall.
Trinity United Methodist Church celebrated its 160th year in 2012 by renovating its buildings. You can see the results today when you visit. Services are 9:30 a.m. Sundays with Sunday school at 11 a.m.
“Come as you are,” Pastor Cliff Krcha says. “We have an open conversation in preaching, and I love answering questions from those in worship. If you are an early riser, you can find me in the Castell General Store every Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m.”
The church might be old, but it’s not behind the times. Check out the Trinity United Methodist Church Facebook page! Be sure to hit like!
For a personal visit, head to Castell, which is located 18 miles west of Llano. Take Texas 29 West to RR 2768 South.
The Highland Lakes boasts many great congregations, young, old and in between. To find the perfect church for you, check out the listings in the The Picayune Area-Wide Phonebook.