Texas is home to notable painted churches. These are all astonishingly beautiful and laden with a rich history.
Art enthusiasts and religious individuals flock from all around the world to see these incredible structures.
The painted churches of Texas are existing remains dating back to the 1800s.
The churches were designed to look like old gothic churches within Europe, as they were built by settlers that wanted to bring their culture to the New World.
The churches are mainly Roman Catholic.
Seeing the painted churches in person allows people in the U.S. to see elements of German, Czech, and Austrian history.
Every structure is decorated with complex designs, vibrant floral arrangements, and flying cherubs.
They have a unique beauty that expresses the early migrants’ faith, wishes, and dreams.
Whether you’re an art lover, architecture enthusiast, or devout to your faith, here are some of Texas’ most breathtaking painted churches to add to your bucket list!
More About The Painted Churches Of Texas
German and Eastern European people began to migrate to Texas in the 19th and 20th centuries.
As they came to the central hills, the settlers brought their own culture and traditions with them.
In the present, many areas in Texas, including Serbin, Fredericksburg, and Schulenburg are full of Slavic and Teutonic elements.
The painted churches in these areas are a visible depiction of the settlers’ values, traditions, and creative visions.
Around twenty churches remain in Texas, but as most of these are found within Schulenburg, many people refer to them as the Schulenburg-painted churches.
However, these churches are still present in other Texan towns, like Praha, Dubina, and Serbin. You’ll find our pick of the most astonishing painted churches below.
Breathtaking Texas Painted Churches
St. Paul’s Lutheran was first constructed in 1870, led by Rev. John Kilian’s guidance.
The church is located in Serbin and is the only non-Catholic structure on this list.
The church was first a worship area for Wendish migrants that traveled from Hamburg, Germany, to find cultivable land.
The church includes sky-colored columns and ceilings with elements of gold running through them. Complex floral designs and marble-like finishes adorn the building, giving the church a tranquil, soothing feel.
St. Paul’s Lutheran didn’t always look this way. It remained a bare-bones, wooden building for the first 36 years of its life.
In the year 1906, Serbin’s community chose to dress up the church and decorate it themselves, all without professional help!
The church also holds the title of owning the tallest podium in Texas, extending 20 feet from the floor.
It also houses pews two stories high.
In the past, Women and children used to sit in the bottom area, while men would sit in the higher area, though this isn’t the case anymore.
Sunday service in St. Paul’s Lutheran starts at 8:30 AM. Communion is delivered on the first and third Sundays of each month.
St. John the Baptist in Ammannsville is well known for its rose-colored interiors.
Also called the ‘pink church’, the structure sits within Ammannsville, a very small town in southeastern Fayette County.
This church is mainly light pink, with gold delicate designs running across it.
Angel and ivy images extend all around the church, which stand out in contrast against the building’s green floors.
Many painted statues are present in the church, which make the building seem even more impressive.
The original wall paintings were created by Fred Donecker and Sons, who were known as ‘fresco painters’.
A lasting respect to the original migrants, the building has stained glass windows that depict the town’s Czech history and culture.
The St. John’s church which stands today was made in 1918, the third building to sit in this area.
The original church was struck down by a hurricane in 1909, while a fire burned the second restoration in 1917.
Mass held during even months is held at 9:30 AM every Sunday. Mass in odd months is held at 5:00 PM every Saturday.
The church also opens to hold a Friday evening Mass. This occurs at 5:00 pm and is held occasionally during the year.
During the mid-19th century, several families from Moravia moved to the Texan hills.
As they found an area with lots of oak trees, the families chose to make the place home, calling it Dubin.
In 1877, following the Civil War, the same group decided to create a church, called Saints Cyril and Methodius.
Touchingly, they added an iron cross to their church made by Tom Lee, a freed slave.
Unfortunately, a hurricane in 1909 destroyed central Texas areas, including the Saints Cyril and Methodius church.
This didn’t discourage the town’s community, as they were able to save Tom Lee’s cross and designated a new church three years later.
Just like the gothic churches of Moravia, Saints Cyril and Methodius are decorated with azure domes and ceilings.
These are embellished with gold floral designs, angels, and stars.
Statues are present around the altar, while a depiction of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane stands out among the other images.
The Saints Cyril church is built with lots of windows, more than any other one of Texas’ painted churches.
This fills the building with lots of light, giving it a sunny and inviting feel which fills visitors with optimism.
During the 1950s, the regional parish declared that the bold artwork was distracting. The paintings and statues were then whitewashed, so they stood out less.
This changed in the 1980s, as other churches around the town were acknowledged for their vibrant interiors, so the art was then restored.
Mass at Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church is held at 4:00 pm every Saturday, and 10:15 am every Sunday.
St. Mary’s Church in High Hill is widely known as Queen of the Painted Churches.
Currently placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the church was first constructed by Czech-German settlers in 1906.
Leo Dielmann first designed the structure, then Hermann Kern and Ferdinand Stockert, two famed artists of the period, painted the sanctuary in 1912.
Rather than painting straight onto the walls and ceiling, the artists painted on canvases and attached them to the church’s walls later.
The building looks like a regular red-brick church on the outside, but the interiors are vastly different!
Known as one of Texas’ most attractive painted churches, the building houses a pale blue turret with gold features, with columns decorated to look like marble.
The artists also painted the church to give the appearance of gothic-style joints and vaults.
A mural depicting the Lamb of God is visible behind its altar, along with a replica of Pietá by Michelangelo.
The church also has many stained glass windows which fill the building with a magnificent light, giving it a serene, yet impressive feel.
High Hill’s St. Mary’s church is also historically important, as it was where the Catholic State League first originated.
In the present day, however, the church is popular for its celebratory picnic which occurs every Labor Day weekend.
High Hill’s St. Mary’s Church hosts mass twice every week. Saturday service starts at 6:30 pm, while Wednesday’s service begins at 7:00 am.
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption was first built in 1895, which makes it Texas’ oldest church.
Its decor and appearance have been updated several times since it was first built.
The first artwork was created by the artist, Gottfried Flury.
Six years later, Father Netardus, the church pastor, musician, and painter, added extra decorations to the church.
Later on, in the mid-20th century, a different artist called Gene A. Mukulik added gold leaves to areas of the structure.
He also formed the sanctuary’s notable mural, ‘Our Lady of Victory’, which depicts the Virgin Mary.
St. Mary’s Church of Assumption has green-blue arches across the ceiling. This depicts the Garden of Eden with noted Texas flowers.
The church’s polished platforms also act as a mirror, reflecting the beauty of the stained glass windows and magnificent chandelier.
The main attraction of the church is its hand-made altar. It’s white in color but is embellished with 24-karat gold.
A soothing mural of three angels is placed behind the altar. They are dressed in shades of yellow, blue, and pink, drifting around a cross.
Wooden beams and painted bands emphasize the painting’s grand, yet serene feel.
Praha’s folklore claims that the congregation struggled to find a person who would ascend the 130-foot tower to fasten the cross in place.
The tale says that the church congregation tried to persuade people by offering a keg of beer to anyone who could master the task.
Apparently, a man took up the offer and performed a handstand as he got to the top!
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption holds seven masses each week. Weekend mass occurs at 5:00 pm on Saturday, and 9:00 am on Sunday.
Another mass occurs at 8:30 am every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. There’s also an additional Friday service that starts at 6:30 pm.
The first Wednesday of every month also hosts mass at 7:00 pm.
Fredericksburg is a town that’s rich with German heritage, as it was founded by German settlers in 1846.
St. Mary’s Church was created by one of Fredericksburg’s wealthier immigrant groups.
Its appearance attests to this, as the structure houses gorgeous stained glass windows, delicate moldings, and high domed ceilings.
In the early 20th century, George Kilgen and Son produced a tailor-made pipe organ for the church.
The organ has since been updated into an electric model, but its same form fills the church with amazing hymns to this day.
Visitors should take note of the stained glass window image of two children. The picture shows guardian angels delivering the two their first communion.
The girl was named Emma and the boy was James.
These two children from the immigrant community passed away when they were young, like a lot of children did at the time.
The church also has a mural of 12 apostles that extends across the middle aisle.
Interestingly, the artist that painted the mural depicts Matthias where Judas would have been.
Fredericksburg’s St. Mary’s Church has a complex mass schedule.
Saturday masses occur on the first Saturday of each month. One starts at 8:00 am and the other at 5:30 pm.
Three masses occur every Sunday. The first starts at 7:30 am, the second at 9:00 am, and the last at 11:30 am.
Monday mass starts at 7:30 am, Tuesday mass is at 7:00 pm, and Thursday service starts at 8:00 am.
The first Friday of each month holds two masses, the morning session at 7:30 am and the evening session at 7:00 pm.
Austin’s Wesley Brethren Church was first constructed in 1886.
The church was painted later in 1889 by the Czech pastor, Bohuslav Laciak.
Its azure ceiling and illusion walls are classic depictions of artwork in the late 1800s.
Laciak painted the archways and columns to resemble side aisles in basilica churches.
The church houses a stunning gold chalice which is secure right above the pulpit. This is meant to depict the Blood of Christ.
Double wooden doors cover the entrance to the church which have translucent glass inserts.
A hand-painted sign also extends on top of the doors with the phrase, “I am the way, the truth, and the light, the words of Jesus Christ” in Czech.
In 1963, the Wesley Brethren Church stopped holding services, though people can still visit the beautiful site on Sunday mornings.
Advice on Visiting Painted Churches In Texas
If you’re thinking about visiting some of Texas’ painted churches, here are some things you should know beforehand.
Visitors can go around and guide themselves through the churches, but a guided tour will give you an interesting background of the site’s architecture and history.
Anyone interested in learning about the German/Czech settlers’ background should consider going on a tour, as there’s a lot to take in.
If you are trying to organize a tour, aim to contact the church’s Visitor Center a fortnight ahead of time. Always make sure that your planned date is available.
All of the churches, except Austin’s Wesley Brethren Church, are active.
Any Sunday visitors should look at service times before visiting as it’s best to wait until the services have finished.
Many of the painted churches are built in small towns which may not cater to certain diets.
Plan in advance by bringing your own snacks and beverages, or planning where you want to eat along your route.
The Bottom Line
Now you know more about the painted churches in Texas! We hope that you take the time to visit these stunning sites when you’re next in the state.
Remember that these churches are still places of worship, so aim to visit around service times and remain respectful while you’re inside.
There are lots of churches to see, so plan accordingly to avoid burning out on your journey!
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