Texas isn’t just famous for its Texas Longhorns, the Alamo or hot temperatures but you can also find a range of stunning churches in this state.
Dotted around Texas, there are a large number of beautifully painted churches whose design was inspired by Gothic cathedrals from Europe.
Each church shows intricate patterns with blooming flowers and cute cherubs. The beauty of these buildings show the genuine belief of early American settlers.
In this article, we explore who built the Texas painted churches and some of the finest examples.
Why Are There Painted Churches In Texas?
From the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, German and Eastern European immigrants came to Texas to start a new life.
They founded a large number of towns and communities, such as Serbin, Fredericksburg, Dubina, Schulenburg and Praha.
These settlers also brought their culture and Christian faith to the area. They built a number of churches that are fantastic examples of their values, customs and artistic abilities.
These early settler churches are sometimes also called Schulenburg painted churches because many of them are located around the town of Schulenburg.
This being said, you can find the 20 remaining churches also in other parts of Texas, including Dubina, Ammannsville, High Hill, Praha, Fredericksburg and Serbin.
Famous Painted Churches In Texas
While most of the famous painted Texan churches are in Schulenburg, we also found some other beautiful examples of decorated churches.
Here is a list of the best examples of the Texas painted churches.
St. Mary’s Church In High Hill
Also often called the queen of the painted churches, Mary Blessed Virgin Catholic Church in High Hill is considered one of the most beautiful painted churches in Texas.
Built in 1906 by Czech-German immigrants who settled near High Hill, St. Mary’s Church is listed with the National Register of Historic Places today.
This gothic revival church building was designed by Leo Dielmann and painted by two of the best known decorative artists at the time, Hermann Kern and Ferdinand Stockert.
While St. Mary’s looks like a normal church on the outside with its plain red brick, it shows some of the best wall paintings in the country.
The cupola is pastel blue and it has beautifully intricate golden accents. Even the column are painted to resemble expensive marble stone.
Behind the altar, visitors can find an impressive centerpiece painting of the Lamb of God.
Together with a reproduction of the Pietà sculpture originally by Michelangelo, the interior of this church reminds you that you are in a true house of God.
There are also 18 stained-glass windows that allow plenty of light to come through to make every detail visible.
The wall paintings are so cleverly done that they create the illusion of joints and gothic vaults.
Saint Mary’s Church in High Hill is also famous for being the place of a large picnic on the Sunday around the Labor Day weekend.
- Address of St. Mary’s Church in High Hill: Saint Mary Catholic Church, 2833 FM 2672, Schulenburg, TX, 78956 US
- Mass times of St. Mary’s Church in High Hill: Saint Mary’s Church holds mass at 7am on Wednesday and 6:30pm on Saturday.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church In Serbin
Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church in Serbin is not just unusual in its painted interior but it is also one of the very few painted churches in Texas that is not Catholic.
The building was constructed in 1870 by Wendish immigrants who came from Hamburg, Germany. Rev. John Kilian supervised the built.
The church interior features stunning decorated columns and cerulean ceilings with gold accents.
Similar to other highly decorated churches, St. Paul’s Lutheran also features faux-marble designs and floral patterns.
But this impressive church didn’t start out initially as a masterpiece. It was originally a simply wood church for 36 years.
However, in the beginning of the 20th century, local residents decided to turn their church into one of the best painted church examples of the area.
All the painted ceilings and walls you can see at St. Paul’s were done without the work of professional artists.
But St. Paul’s Lutheran isn’t just famous for its beautiful wall craft. It also holds the proud title of the tallest pulpit in Texas which stands at an impressive 20ft off the ground.
- Address of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church: 1572 CR 211, Giddings, Texas 78942
- Service times of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Serbin: Saint Paul Lutheran church holds a Sunday service at 8:30am, with communion given every first and third Sunday of the month.
Saints Cyril and Methodius Church In Dubina
In the middle of the 19th century, different families from North Moravia found their way to the central hills of Texas.
They ended up in a grove of oaks where they settled and founded the town of Dubin.
In 1877, these settlers decided to follow their faith and built the church of St. Cyril and Methodius.
They chose to proudly display a large iron cross which is said to have been built by the free slave Tom Lee.
In 1909, a hurricane destroyed many parts of central Texas, including this early church in Dubina.
However, the villagers weren’t discouraged and they built another church three years later. They even managed to restore the cross of Tom Lee.
When you step inside Saints Cyril and Methodius church, you will instantly notice the impressive blue ceiling with vaulted domes.
The details of floral stencils, golden stars and sweet angels make the scene above even more realistic.
As a centerpiece, you will find a wall painting of the Garden of Gethsemane and Christ, flanked by statues around the altar.
What’s more unusual in this painted church is that you can find a lot more windows. This makes the interior not only bright but also uplifting for the spirits.
Many people consider Saints Cyril and Methodius church as the most elaborately decorated church in Texas.
This being said, that wasn’t always the case. The diocese responsible for the area at the time felt in 1908 that the decorations were too distracted and they painted over the walls and ceilings.
Luckily, the original art was restored to its former glory in the 1980s.
- Address of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Dubina: 4148 FM 1383, Dubina, Texas
- Mass times at Saints Cyril and Methodius: The church offers mass times at 10:15am on Sunday and 4pm on Saturday.
St. Mary’s Church In Fredericksburg
You can see from the outside and interior of St. Mary’s Church in Fredericksburg that it was constructed by one of the wealthiest immigrant communities from the 20th century.
Constructed in 1908, there was no expense spared during the building and decorating work of this stunning church.
It has intricate stained-glass windows, corners towers and domed ceilings. The buttresses and delicate moldings make this house of worship an architectural masterpiece.
When you enter St. Mary’s Church, make sure to take a walk up to the window that shows two children with a couple of angels.
These windows were made in memory of two young immigrants who died far too early, just like many children did at the time.
The custom-made pipe organ by George Kilgen & Son was specifically designed for this church.
While it has been modernized, you can still hear the classic hymns from this instrument today.
One of the most impressive features of this Fredericksburg church is the wall painting of the 12 apostles. It covers the entire center aisle.
If you look closely, then you will notice that the artist chose to replace Judas with Matthias.
Fredericksburg as a town is also worth a visit. It was founded by German settlers in the middle of the 19th century.
You can explore Fredericksburg at your own pace, visit St. Mary’s Church and other historic sites nearby.
- Address of St. Mary’s Church in Fredericksburg: 306 West San Antonio Street, Fredericksburg, Texas
- Mass times at St. Mary’s Church: There are plenty of different mass times at St. Mary’s Church in Fredericksburg.
You can join mass at 5pm and 7pm (in Spanish) on every first Saturday of the month. There are also three mass times on Sunday, including 7:30am, 9am and 11:15am.
As St. Mary’s Church offers many more mass times, make sure to check their website for the specific times.
St. Mary’s Church Of The Assumption In Praha
St. Mary’s Church in Praha is one of the oldest painted church in Texas. It was built in 1895 and painted by artist Gottfried Flury in 1901.
It is said that a musician, a hobby painter and the church’s pastor at the time added decorative embellishments to the artwork later.
There are also other artists who added a few impressive pieces. For example, Gene A. Mikulik is said to have created the large mural of the Virgin Mary in this painted church.
She also painted some of the golden leaf around the sanctuary.
The many artistic influences in this church don’t clash but they come together in a calm and peaceful harmony.
The most stunning artwork at St. Mary’s Church of Assumption in Praha is the blue, arched ceiling. It depicts the Garden of Eden with local flowers from Texas.
Visitors will instantly notice the large stained-glass windows and a grand chandelier that create plenty of light in this large open space.
This being said, the centerpiece of this painted church is the bright white altar that is covered in 24-karat gold.
It almost distracts from the peaceful scene of three angels floating around a cross behind the altar.
The atmosphere of the church lifts the soul and spirits, and the wooden beams together with painted cornices increase this effect even further.
There is also interesting story associated with the cross in the church. The congregation struggled to find willing candidates who were daring enough to climb the high steeple.
Therefore, they offered all candidates a keg of beer. This enticed a man to come forward. He is said to have performed a handstand once he reached the top.
- Address of St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption in Praha: 821 FM 1295, Flatonia, Texas
- Mass times at St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption: You can join the congregation for mass several times a week. There is a mass at 8:30am every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. St. Mary’s Church also holds mass on Sunday at 9am and Saturday at 5pm, as well as at 7pm on every first Wednesday of the month. As these times can change, make sure to check the church’s website for specific dates and times.
St. John the Baptist Church In Ammannsville
St. John the Baptist Church in the ghost town of Ammansville is well-known by everyone as the pink church because its interior has a pale pink color.
The impressive depictions of angels and ivy can be found all over the inside of the church, just like many other golden stencil patterns.
The pink ceiling creates a wonderful contrast to the green floor and the many painted statues around the church.
The many murals at the St. John the Baptist Church are the work of fresco painter Fred Donecker.
Visitors can get a great insight into the lives of the early settlers here from the stained-glass windows that tell the many tales of the Czech immigrants who made this their home.
While this painted Texan church looks remarkable today, this spot wasn’t always so lucky. The original church was built in the early 20th century but it was destroyed by the 1909 hurricane.
The second church in Ammannville burned down only eight years later. And the church we see today is from 1918.
- Address of St. John the Baptist in Ammannsville: 7745 Mensik Road, Schulenburg, Texas 78956-5724
- Mass times at St. John the Baptist: This painted church in Texas holds mass at 9:30am on Sunday in even months and 5pm Saturday mass in odd months. You can also join Friday evening mass at 5pm throughout the year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Painted Churches In Texas Open To The Public?
Yes, most of the 20 painted churches in Texas can be visited by everyone. It’s a good idea to check their opening times and mass times before your trip.
Some of these churches may also not be easily accessible by public transport, so make sure to check your route and how to get there.
Are All Painted Churches In Texas Catholic?
No, not all painted churches of Texas are Catholic. There are also a few non-Catholic painted churches in Texas, such as St. Paul’s Lutheran in Serbin.
Why Are They Called Painted Churches?
The painted churches in Texas are called this way because they are beautifully decorated with wall murals inside.
The early settlers in central Texas did not just bring their skills but they also brought their values, culture and faith.
They wanted to recreate the ancient gothic structures they knew from their homelands in Central and Eastern Europe.
This is the reason why the painted churches were decorated with intricate patterns and murals.
While many churches in Texas are plain buildings on the outside, these historic buildings feature beautifully painted interiors.
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