Historic demolition

The old Hornsby Murcherson Funeral Home at 201 S. Eighth St. in East Temple was to be renovated using Community Development Block Grant funds but will be demolished because of high renovation costs.

A funeral home in East Temple — which received a historic marker earlier this year — is now set to become history.

The old Hornsby Murcherson Funeral Home in East Temple, purchased earlier this year to house the nonprofit Citizens for Progress, is now set to be demolished. The Temple City Council voted 4-0 Thursday, with Councilwoman Judy Morales abstaining, to enlist the services of MRB Group of Temple to help design a new building for the organization. The cost is $56,950.

The building received a Temple historic marker in January as the city planned to help the nonprofit refurbish the structure.

“We were very sad to hear that the building was beyond repair,” Nancy Glover, Neighborhood Revitalization Manager for Temple, said. “We had hoped that the project would bring the building back to its former glory. After much discussion and thought, however, we are now very excited about the idea that this area will be home to a brand-new community enhancement center.”

The funeral home, which was built in 1928, was the first building to be recognized by the Temple Historic Preservation Committee this year with a marker.

Glover said when the building was initially bought a full inspection was not included, with both the group and city finding out later repairs would have cost more than building a new space.

Sonjanette Crossley, president of Citizens for Progress, said the group had not yet occupied the building since it received its award because they knew there were problems that needed to be fixed.

The new building will be the organization’s East Temple Community Enhancement Center and will help residents with homeownership classes, credit counseling services and job readiness classes.

Crossley said that while she wished the building didn’t need to be torn down, residents in the community and those with ties to the building would still have their memories.

“Now we are ready to move forward,” Crossley said. “If the building cannot be saved, it won’t stop us remembering the history of what was there and what will there. Now I get to be excited because we are getting ready to birth something that stands on the foundation of that memory.”

City officials estimate the plans for the new building will be completed by sometime in November, with construction likely being funded through grants and sponsorships.

While the historic building on the site will be gone, Glover said the new building will have space to pay remembrance to its predecessor in addition to displaying the building’s historic marker.