Friday, January 6, 2012

Road Trip...Painted Churches...

Saints Cyril & Methodius Church
Shiner, Texas

Last summer, our daughter and her kids came down for a visit.
She took a few days to visit her mother-in-law, Linda, down in Shiner...
yes, mother AND mother-in-law are Lindas...
 Linda took them to see The Painted Churches.
They were quite impressed.

So, Mr. P and I decided we'd take a drive over the Christmas holiday, 
and see some of these churches.

St. Mary's Church of the Assumption
Praha, Texas

The Painted Churches were built by Czech and German settlers.
A bit of research, told us there are more than 20 painted churches across Texas.
We visited three.

We stopped at the visitor center in Schulenburg first, and got a map.
We highly recommend that.  Most of the small towns are not on the Texas map.

Praha is south of I-10, between Flatonia and Engle.
There you'll find St. Mary's Church of the Assumption.

St. Mary's is one of the oldest of these churches...built in 1895.
As you can see by all the scaffolding, it's getting a bit of a face lift.

St. Mary's
Praha, Texas

These small farming communities were not wealthy.  They couldn't afford to decorate their churches with marble and fancy, they painted it on.

Here they've painted arch detail  and moldings on the wooden lath ceiling.

The altar is fairly simple here.  Angels are painted on the ceiling above.

Freehand floral paintings make a garden out of the ceiling.

I bet this organ is quite impressive in this small sanctuary.

The cemetery here is fairly large.

The first paved cemetery I ever saw, was in Fredericksburg, TX. 
It's much larger, and much more paved.
Here we have another one.  I suppose it's to make it easier to care for them.

There were quite a few children's graves.  Most early 20th century...a LOT in 1915.
Makes you wonder what happened that year.

If they made it to adulthood, many lived a long time.  We saw many who lived 90 years or more.

OK....enough about graveyards.

Saints Cyrus and Methodius is in Shiner, TX.
Shiner is best known in these parts for its brewery.  That'll be for another trip.

This is a larger church, in a much larger town.  According to a historical marker outside, the sanctuary here was built in 1920 by volunteers.
The outside is very nicely done in brick patterns.

The altar was a bit larger with a large painting on the ceiling above.

Here, more painted 'molding' and faux painted marble columns.

Each church had a Nativity scene set up for the Christmas season.

Lots of beautiful stained glass windows.

I saved our favorite, for last.

St. Mary's in High Hill, Texas
High Hill is just north of Schulenburg.

St. Mary's was built in 1906.

This sanctuary has a lot of the painting.

You can see the faux marble finish and the faux copper above.

Beautiful decorative painting, and stencil work.

I read that the artists did most of this painting on canvases.  Then, those were glued to the wood.

The altar is beautiful.

Again, the Nativity for the season.

Each window is stained glass.

Each one has a name at the bottom.
Whether for memorials or the names of donors, I'm not sure.
Maybe for both.

We've lived in Texas all our lives, and we never heard of these churches.
How'd that happen?
There's always something new to learn.

We'll be checking out the other Painted Churches.
They're worth the road trip.

Have a Good Weekend...


  1. The painted churches are so beautiful. It is amazing how talented and courageous the settlers were. Sounds like a nice road trip.

  2. Beautiful churches, there is so much history in those small towns. Thanks for the lovely tour.

  3. Very nice - I may have to go with one of my coworkers to see some of these churches (since our husbands won't go, we go with each other instead).

    I did look up epidemics in Texas and it looks like there was a Typhoid epidemic in multiple counties in 1915...

  4. In addition to the typhoid epidemic that Katina discovered, the beginnings of the great flu pandemic of 1918 (which we now know was a bird flu) started in 1915, targeting a lot of children.

    Thank you for this spectacular tour of painted churches!

  5. These churches are really beautiful. And, still active churches.
    Katina and Sandy...thanks for the info on the epicemics. I haven't taken time to research that.
    I have a thing about old cemeteries. They can show you a lot of history...which is another subject I have a thing for.
    Thanks for visiting...

  6. What an amazing treasure...they seem to never end in TX. But you better be careful, as turning more people on to moving to TX will not bode for your water supply. Perhaps take a cue from the Vikings, naming a hostile place "Greenland" and a friendlier place "Iceland".

    But seriously, keep extolling TX's virtues like these impressive buildings. I promise not to waste water if I become your neighbor...

  7. Hi Linda. I have never heard about the painted churches. They are just amazing. I love the detailed paintings in them.It is wonderful that they are restoring and keeping them up. Thanks for sharing them.

  8. Wow, really beautiful Linda, thanks for the tour. I think there was a local-to-Texas PBS special on the painted churches a few years ago. I even think it was done by Tom Spencer of Central Texas Gardener show.


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