ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting North America»
  • United States

Texas - The Painted Churches of Schulenburg - Treasure found inside!

Updated on August 1, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

St. Mary's at Praha has a very pastoral setting with painted clouds, ferns and other plants.
St. Mary's at Praha has a very pastoral setting with painted clouds, ferns and other plants. | Source

Schulenburg, Texas

About halfway between Houston and San Antonio exists the town of Schulenburg, Texas. If you would happen to visit their Chamber of Commerce, you would definitely be encouraged to visit the four historic Painted Churches in the area. The treasure is found inside each of these churches!

They also serve as memorable monuments to the historic past that is part of Schulenburg history.

Be sure and pick up a map so that you can easily find these Gothic styled beauties.

They are not what you might think!

The exteriors look like any other church on the outside. It is the inside of each of these churches that bears further discovery. Let me explain...

First of all you need to know about the immigrants who primarily settled this part of the country.

They were mostly made up of Czechoslovakians and some Germans who came to America to better their circumstances. Some came for economic reasons and others to evade religious oppression.

Whatever their reasons they settled in this region and wanted to practice their religion and follow their common Catholic customs.

Ceiling of interior of St. Mary's at Praha
Ceiling of interior of St. Mary's at Praha | Source

The original settlers in Schulenburg were a hard working and dedicated people, but they did not have much extra money to decorate their churches so expensive materials were not an option.

Painters were hired to embellish the inside of each church ultimately creating inspiring and serene surroundings in which to worship.

Supposedly, at least in one case, an itinerant painter was hired to do the job.

What these artistic painters did was magical and different in each case.

These Painted Churches are listed in the National Register of Historic Places due to their uniqueness and are well worth visiting.

Stations of the Cross inside St. Mary's church at Praha.
Stations of the Cross inside St. Mary's church at Praha. | Source

St. Mary's Church at Praha

Originally established in 1855, St. Marys received a new exterior from stones quarried from nearby Muldoon, Texas.

The "new" church titled the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was dedicated on November 20, 1895.

The painter hired to decorate the interior was a recognized artist by the name of Gottfried Flury. He had done other church murals and for well over 100 years the ceiling has never had to be retouched.

I was inspired and created an original linocut of a portion of this particular church and its steeple. It is titled Praha Prayers.

On back of postcard - Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church - Dubina. TX. Bluebonnets in the springtime at Dubina: the oldest Czech settlement in Texas.  The church interior is decorated throughout with frescoes and stenciling in vivid colors comm
On back of postcard - Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church - Dubina. TX. Bluebonnets in the springtime at Dubina: the oldest Czech settlement in Texas. The church interior is decorated throughout with frescoes and stenciling in vivid colors comm | Source

Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church

The location of this charming church is located in Dubina which according to a historical marker was the first Czech settlement in Texas.

The story told was that the first batch of Czech immigrants spent the night nestled under an oak tree for protection from the elements when they first arrived at this location. Oak tree is called "Dub" in Czech and eventually the name was enlarged to account for the many oaks that grew there, thus, Dubina came into existence.

It was a farming community.

Sts. Cyril and Methodious Church was built in 1912. The first church was destroyed by a hurricane 3 years earlier and what remains from that earlier time is the chandelier, bells and cross on the steeple. Everything else was damaged beyond repair.

The cross was made by Ton Lee who was a former slave. He worked for the local blacksmith and created the crowning glory for this church which served the local Catholic community.

Interior photo of Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church
Interior photo of Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church | Source

A professional artist was employed to paint the inside and he utilized frescoes and stencils to create the unique designs. Amazingly when the church was 75 years old, the parishioners painted over the designs! Some years later when some of the original artwork began to show through the white paint, restoration was begun to uncover and restore the art to its former beauty.

Thank heavens we get to enjoy that original artwork today as it was intended to be seen and enjoyed.

The angels emerging out of the lily-like flowers with musical instruments in their hands are enchantingly sweet and whimsical.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The cemetery outside St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church ~ Some stately monuments for this place and time.The cemetery outside St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church
The cemetery outside St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church ~ Some stately monuments for this place and time.
The cemetery outside St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church ~ Some stately monuments for this place and time. | Source
The cemetery outside St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church
The cemetery outside St. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church | Source

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

Located at Ammannsville just about 8 miles from Schulenburg, St. John the Baptist Church is the third reincarnation. Destroyed twice, the parishioners persisted and created this Gothic Revival Style Church which is another one listed in the National Register of Historical Places.

It was dedicated in 1919 and was painted by an itinerant drifter who happened to come by at the right place and time with artistic talents which still mark this church today with much grace and beauty.

Something of interest regarding the stained glass windows...men saints are on the right side of the church and women saints were on the left side. Each window was inscribed in the Czech dialect.

Outside the church is a beautiful country cemetery.

Some of the stained glass windows inside St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
Some of the stained glass windows inside St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. | Source

St. Mary's Catholic Church at High Hill

Another Gothic Revival styled church, St. Mary's, is also listed in the National Register of Historical Places. German Catholic families who settled in this area in the mid-1860s started the building of the first church. This is the third one standing since that origination over a century ago.

Baptismal font of the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, also known as the St. Mary Catholic Church, in High Hill, a little community near Schulenburg in Fayette County, Texas
Baptismal font of the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, also known as the St. Mary Catholic Church, in High Hill, a little community near Schulenburg in Fayette County, Texas | Source

Eighteen stained glass windows were purchased and shipped from Germany to be installed in their place of worship. Beautiful deep colors depicting saints and other biblical scenes add to the beauty inside the church especially when the sunlight warms those intricate designs in the stained glass and makes them glow.

Stained-glass window at the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, also known as the St. Mary Catholic Church, in High Hill, a little community near Schulenburg in Fayette County, Texas
Stained-glass window at the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, also known as the St. Mary Catholic Church, in High Hill, a little community near Schulenburg in Fayette County, Texas | Source

Carved statues of Jesus, Mary and other saints are housed within St. Mary's Church along with unusually beautiful and detailed Stations of the Cross.

The height of the steeple is about 175 and the domed interior ceiling is embellished with paintings of angels, grapes, wheat sheaves, vines, birds and other decorations. All of the ceiling paintings are original and have never had to be retouched.

The columns inside the church look like real marble but are also just painted and made to look like the real thing. Marble, of course, is cool to the touch. The painting of the columns is so well executed that if one did not touch the columns, one could be fooled into thinking that they are indeed marble.

St. Mary's along with the three other Painted Churches in the Schulenburg area are well worth a bit of time to visit.

Sanctuary of the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, also known as the St. Mary Catholic Church, in High Hill, a little community near Schulenburg in Fayette County, Texas
Sanctuary of the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, also known as the St. Mary Catholic Church, in High Hill, a little community near Schulenburg in Fayette County, Texas | Source

Painted Churches

There are other Painted Churches in Texas and if seeing these four which are clustered in an area not too far from one another in Schulenburg give you the incentive to seek out and look at more of them, then that of course will keep you busy for a while longer.

From Houston it is simply a nice day trip and pleasant outing. We always notice a few new details that we missed seeing in former visits. If you are anywhere near this location, I would suggest putting this on your list of things to do and see.

Thanks for viewing and learning about these Texas treasures. When considering Texas sites, you might wish to consider putting Schulenburg and the Painted Churches on your list of desired places to visit.

A markerSchulenburg, Texas -
Schulenburg, TX 78956, USA
get directions

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rebecca,

      If the painted churches you visited in North Carolina were anything like these here in Texas, I know you would have had a good experience. Glad you liked seeing these.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      We have visited these beautiful painted churches several times on different occasions and they are quite amazing to see. Glad you liked getting a look at them via this hub. Appreciate the visit and shares.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is awesome, Peggy. I visited some painted churches once somewhere in Western NC once. I can't remember exactly where. It was a good experience.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      These churches look beautiful and very much worth a visit. Who would paint over the original designs? That's crazy. I've pinned this article to my 'Travel' board, posted it to FB, and will share with followers. Another excellent article I haven't seen before!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Gail,

      In what part of the country did your grandparents live? Were there any churches similar to these painted churches in that area? I am just wondering if this type of decorating was specific to the Texas area or if it was more of a cultural thing back in those days? Thanks for your comment and votes. Glad that you enjoyed reading this hub.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Wow! The inside of these churches are beautiful and I love the story behind them.

      My paternal grandparents came from Czechoslovakia so this was particularly interesting to me.

      Thanks for sharing another hub that's pretty to look at as well as fascinating to read.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Sandra,

      Here is a link from the Schulenberg Chamber of Commerce that would lead you to all of the information you requested: http://schulenburgchamber.org/tours/churches/

      Will also send you an email in case you do not check back here. It has the church information, lodging, dining etc. all in the area. Hope you enjoy your visit there.

    • profile image

      Sandra S Eubank-Gray 5 years ago

      Would you be able to see me all info on the churches where they are located and things to do & places to stay. I live in Amarillo and would love to take a long weekend to see these wonderful churches.Name: Sandra S Gray Address 7903 Pebblebrook Dr, Amarillo, Tx 79119 806 662 1422 e-mail. ssgray7@gmail.com God Gless You ssgray

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi JamaGenee,

      Have you written about those Kansas prairie churches? If so please feel free to leave a link. I would be interested and I am sure anyone else landing on this page would also like to hear about them. In addition to the Schulenburg area, there are painted churches in the hill country going towards the Austin area from what I have heard. As you say "beauty comes from within." :))

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Amazing! If you hadn't told us the columns are only painted to look like marble, I would've assumed they were the real thing. I was appalled that the one congregation had the audacity to paint over the art treasure in its church, but thrilled that it's all been restored. What WERE they thinking?????

      The Kansas prairie is another unlikely place to see and enjoy fantastic interiors in churches established by East European immigrants that are quite plain on the outside. Which only shows that like the Czechs who settled in Texas, they had their priorities straight... that "beauty comes from within". ;D

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello jamterrell,

      So happy to hear that you enjoyed looking at these photos of the Painted Churches in the Schulenburg area of Texas. They are certainly unique and special. Thanks for your comment.

    • jamterrell profile image

      jamterrell 6 years ago

      Wonderful hub, Peggy! The pictures are beautiful as well.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Gail H,

      Probably the best way to find them is simply to do a Google Search. Here is a link with 8 of them and a map: http://www.klru.org/paintedchurches/map.html Supposedly there are more than 20 in the State of Texas. I know that there are more in the Texas Hill Country. Good luck with your search!

    • profile image

      Gail H 6 years ago

      Is there a complete list of all the painted churches in Texas? If so, where?

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Marliza Gunter,

      I will agree that just about everyone would enjoy the beautiful colors and subject matter inside these Painted Churches in the Schulenburg area. Thanks for visiting and commenting on this hub.

    • Marliza Gunter profile image

      Marliza Gunter 7 years ago from South Africa

      One can feel welcome in these churches...even children would love the pretty pictures instead of the cold hard churches that I know... :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello vera green,

      I am not the person to contact regarding that but thank you for liking this hub about the Painted Churches of Schulenburg. The churches are indeed beautiful.

    • profile image

      vera green 7 years ago

      hi, if any of the churches need a structural evaluation as to their condition etc, and/or design of upgrading, i would liek to be the engineer to do so! i am Czech and i love the churches.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Joshua,

      We live in Houston and have visited these Painted Churches in the Schulenburg area of Texas several times. What I would suggest is for you to contact the Chamber of Commerce in Schulenburg and get some information from them as to tours, etc. Another idea...check with the people at each individual church. I am sure that they will be happy to assist you with your research. I am by no means an expert. I agree with you that these wonderful structures deserve more attention. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Joshua 7 years ago

      Hi Peggy,

      Great photos! I am doing some research on the painted churches and would appreciate any thoughts/advice you might have. These wonderful structures just don't receive the attention they deserve. Thanks again

      jlskey@yahoo.com

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Chery,

      Thanks for commenting on this Painted Churches of Schulenburg hub and also thanks for the compliment on my linocuts. :-)

    • profile image

      Chery 7 years ago

      These are absolutely beautiful painted churches in Schlunberg. I admire your linocuts. You are a great artist. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi zzron,

      Have you visited the Painted Churches of Schulenburg? A pretty easy days outing from where you live.

    • zzron profile image

      zzron 7 years ago from Houston, TX.

      What a really wonderful hub Peggy. I love the old churches.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings Blogin Up,

      Happy to hear that you liked this hub about the Painted Churches of Schulenburg. Thanks for the comment.

    • Blogin Up profile image

      Blogin Up 7 years ago

      Beautiful Churches, thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again dahoglund,

      If you do a hub about your Dad it will be a lasting memorial for not only your family members but an interesting bit of history for the rest of us also. This could be an interactive way for you and your sister (and perhaps others?) to dredge up all those memories before they are truly gone and forgotten. Just from what you said about him, it peaked my interest!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      An interesting suggestion. I will have to give it some thought and see what I can dig up in the way of pictures and all.He died 57 years ago and much is lost or forgotten. Some is in a family history my sister did. Some is in my faded memory.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello again dahoglund,

      How very interesting! You should do a hub about your Dad and include photos if you have them. I think it would be of interest to many here on hubpages. Did he sell his horse statues or just give them away as gifts? And what medium did he employ in making those statues?

      Seriously......think about doing a hub about your Dad! Thanks!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Dad never made a living as an artist but he did cartoon and had a comic strip published in a weekly paper back in the 20's or 30's. He did "chalk talk" in a vaudeville theater.He spent a lot of his time making horse statues, including miniature hand tooled saddles.He painted nature scenes on the walls at home.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings dahoglund,

      What type of art did your father create? I would agree that churches have certainly evolved in style over the years. Many large ones in Houston where we live look like office buildings! Personally I like the old fashioned ones best. Thanks for your comment.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I find Churches an interesting subject. My father was an artist and not very religious but he admired religious art. I took a short course in church architecture once and foun it fascinating to see the "evolution" on architectural styles over the years.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Sandy,

      I would agree with you that the photos of the insides of the Painted Churches in Schulenburg add a lot to this hub. Angels emerging from lilies...a tropical paradise with ferns and the like...all so different from what is ordinarily seen and yet so beautiful in a church. Thanks for commenting.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello gpetrou85,

      So happy that you liked this hub about the Painted Churches of Schulenburg in Texas. Thanks for commenting.

    • SandyMcCollum profile image

      SandyMcCollum 7 years ago

      Great info, but those pictures of the churches!Oh, my! It was an entertaining read, thank you.

    • gpetrou85 profile image

      gpetrou85 8 years ago from greece

      very nice,good hub.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mindfield, Thanks for coming back. I have done that with my art with certain churches offering them 1/2 of the proceeds. I also donate much of my art to raise money for good causes.

      Thanks for the compliment regarding my art. And thanks for commenting.

    • MindField profile image

      MindField 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Peggy - Took me a little longer to get back here and read everything. What a wonderful hub about a place I'd never heard of but would now very much like to visit.

      I think your own linoleum cut prints are as stunning as the church art. Have you thought of offering them for sale at the churches, giving some portion to the upkeep of the buildings? A win-win situation, I'd say!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Melody,

      Thanks for commenting. Do you have photos of your father's church? Would be fun to see the comparisons. Maybe you could write a hub?

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      Great job on this, Peggy. These lovely architectural structures still stand and proud. Have seen painted ceilings in the old church of my father's hometown too.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi RKHenry,

      It has this and SO MUCH MORE! LOL Thanks for the comment.

    • RKHenry profile image

      RKHenry 8 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

      Peggy W, I dig your stuff. Who knew Texas had all this to offer? Who knew. Excellent.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks diamondrose1. If you get a chance to see them in person, by all means do so. Even prettier than the photos can capture. Thanks for the comment.

    • diamondrose1 profile image

      diamondrose1 8 years ago from Australia

      This is a great hub about the artwork in these churches.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Staci,

      I'm beginning to think that this was not "a great job." I really do appreciate the correction. Already deleted those photos from St. Mary's at High Hill. Will see about re-entering them into the St. Mary's at Praha. Hopefully I have the rest of this right!!!

      I truly did want to share these beautiful churches with those that cannot see them in person and also interest others in visiting them if they travel this way.

      Thanks for your comment and correction.

    • profile image

      Staci 8 years ago

      Peggy, I'm from St. Mary's in Praha. The pictures of the Side Altar and Stations of the Cross are not at the St. Mary's in High Hill, they are at the St. Mary's in Praha.

      Thanks for sharing the news of our churches with others who don't get to enjoy them every weekend. You did a great job!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thank you so much Megan for correcting me in this.  Obviously I got it mixed up in my note taking and will correct it in my photo album as well.  Will simply delete it from this hub.

      The Painted Churches are so beautiful and unusual compared to what is ordinarily seen in churches today.  They have a very special feeling to them and I just love the artwork. You must love being able to worship in St. John the Baptist Church.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • profile image

      Megan 8 years ago

      I am just letting you know as a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Chruch, that the cemetary and grotto are NOT part of our church grounds. They belong to a church (not painted) in a small community called Hostyn. Otherwise the article is great.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello kiran8,

      LIttle old fashioned white steepled churches certainly evoke a time and place that used to be typical of churches. This photo also had the bluebonnets in bloom which meant Springtime in Texas. Glad that you enjoyed the photos.

    • kiran8 profile image

      kiran8 8 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Lovely pics esp The exterior view of Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      So happy that you liked this hub, G-Ma. I agree that some of the modern ones look and feel more like office buildings than churches.

      The cathedrals in Europe are truly something spectacular and took centuries to build in many cases.

      Thanks for the nice comment and hugs back to you.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      OMG these are wonderful...I so miss this type of church today...These modern ones don't even feel like churchs (to me) anymore...It is sad the way we have changed to comply to silly ways of this modern times...

      The Cathedrals I visited in Switzerland and Germany were just so Holy feeling...and where I used to live they still had beautiful ones (Calif.) but here....????? Nicely done hub my dear and Thanks I Loved it...G-Ma :O) Hugs

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks Colleen! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Colleen Gainey profile image

      Colleen Gainey 8 years ago from Braselton, Ga

      Beautiful job Peggy! Loved the images!