When the early Texas settlers arrived from Europe in the mid-1800’s, many of them brought their Czech, German, Wendish, and Eastern European cultural heritage with them, including their Christian faith. They built their new churches from wood, but they designed them to appear like their old Gothic churches from home. They painted the walls, altars, and arches in colorful patterns and beautiful images. These buildings are now called the Painted Churches of Texas. They have been miraculously well-preserved and stand today as a work of living history.
In 1984, 15 painted churches were listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their unique style of religious art. The painted churches and the people who built them have captured the interest of architects, designers, historians, and tourists.
In April 2018, my husband, Ralph Saenz and I went on a guided tour offered by the Chamber of Commerce of Shulenberg. The guided tour includes four Painted Churches located in the communities of Dubina, High Hill, Praha, and Ammannsville. You can call (979)743-4514 to schedule your own tour. Afterward, we drove on our own to Shiner, Texas to visit the brewery and painted church there.
Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church (Dubina, Texas)
Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church was first built in 1876, but was destroyed by the 1909 hurricane. It was rebuilt in 1912, and survived a fire that nearly destroyed the town. While this church can be viewed any time from inside the front doors, full access is limited to touring groups and mass on Sunday.
Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church is located at FM 1383, Dubina, Texas in Fayette County. The architect was Leo Dielmann. Mass is offered at 9:00am every Sunday. It should not be confused with the church of the same name in Shiner, Texas.
St. Mary’s Church High Hill- Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin
St. Mary’s Church High Hill- Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin was originally built in 1869. When a larger church was soon needed and built in 1876, the original building became the school. This newer church featured beautiful stained-glass windows.
When the current church was built in 1906, these eye-catching original stained-glass windows were moved to the new and larger building. It was painted in 1912 by Stockert and Kern. The current church is known as “Queen of the Painted Churches.”
In 2011, a major conservation and restoration project was performed by artist Robert Marshall of R. Alden Marshall & Associates LLC, an art conversation, sculpture and gilding studio based in La Grange.
St. Mary’s Church High Hill- Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin is located at 2833 FM 2672, Schulenburg, TX 78956-5671. Although the official postal address is Schulenberg, the church is actually loacted in the small town of High Hill, Texas in Fayette County. Click Here for mass times.
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption was built in 1895. Gottfried Flury, a Swiss-born artist from Moulton, TX, painted much of the interior. Flury used a combination of stencils, infill painting, and freehand techniques, Flury’s trompe-l’œil designs recreated the stone vaults and Gothic architecture reminiscent of central European churches. Rev. Louis Netardus, and Gene A. Mikulik also contributing to the elaborate painting.
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption is located at 821 FM 1295, Flatonia, Texas 78941-5016. While the official postal address says Flatonia, the church is actually located in the small town of Praha in Fayette County. Click here for mass times.
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church opened in 1890. It was first destroyed by the hurricane of 1909. After the church was rebuilt, it burned shortly thereafter and had to be reconstructed a second time.
The church you see now at 7745 Mensik Road in Schulenburg, Texas 78956-5724 was built in 1918 by architect John Bujnoch and painted by Fred Donecker and Sons. While the official postal address says Schulenberg, the church is actually located in the small town of Ammansville in Fayette County. Check here for service times.
Saints Cyril and Methodius (Shiner, Texas)
According to the church’s website, SS. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church was first built in 1891 but the parish grew rapidly and soon needed a larger sanctuary. The present-day church was designed by James Wahrenberger and completed in 1921. The structure is one of the most remarkable landmarks in South Central Texas with visitors from around the world stopping regularly to photograph and tour the church. SS. Cyril and Methodius’ beauty is enhanced by six large stained glass windows and a mural of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane which overlooks the altar. Edmond Fatjo, trained at the Royal Art Academy in Berlin, painted the church. The builder was Vincent Flabo.
SS. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church is located at 306 South Avenue F, Shiner, Texas 77984 in Lavaca County. Click here for a schedule of services. It should not be confused with the church of the same name in Dubina, Texas.