Historic Sites: St. Mary's of Adair

Although St. Mary's hasn't operated as a Catholic church since the 1970's, it remains an important part of what was once a thriving community in the 19th century.

The priest Father Shea brought kind of, the idea of the church was in his head of how he wanted it built from the little town of Limerick, Ireland. When he came over he here built it basically on the same idea of a church that stood in Limerick, Ireland in the mid 1880s, said Bobby Poston, Board Member, Friends of St. Mary TMs.

The church was built in 1904 and once had a convent. Known for its Florentine architecture and unique design, the building still has its original light fixtures, altars, and confessional.

We have the Mother of Sorrows statue, the original one is in Rome and there have been either two or three reproductions, one which we have, said Rita Ludden, Treasurer, Friends of St. Mary TMs.

A not for profit group, Friends of St. Mary's, maintains and is working to restore the building, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The north tower was at one time 20 feet taller than what it currently is. It's now 50 and it was 70 and it was during a tornado then, took the top off, set it down on the ground here in front of the church, and when they put it back they took off 20 feet of the tower, said Chairman Dewayne Wellborn.

Those who care for the church hope that it will one day resemble its original state.

Until you walk into the church itself and see the inside of it, the workmanship of it, granted its in kind of rough form but yet you get the idea of what the church used to be in its prime, it needs to be preserved so people can see what really went on out here years ago, said Poston.

Many of the members have family ties to the town and the church.

I can go in and see the seat that my parents sat in when I was a little girl and right across the aisle was my grandparents and then right in front of me was an aunt and an uncle from the other side of the family, so I kind of feel like they're here, when I come, said Ludden.