Stunning painted churches in Texas

So, what exactly are the Painted Churches? Do you know there are 20 of them in the San Antonio area? I did not have a clue. The four stunning painted churches in Texas I visited on my day trip from home (five-hour round trip drive) were between Houston and San Antonio, Texas, in the communities of Flatonia, Schulenberg, and Dubina.

Stunning painted churches in Texas
St. Mary’s Catholic Church in High Hill

My trip to see the painted churches in Texas was a spur-of-the-moment, day trip all by myself.

These churches all look like you’d expect a small country church to look; small, unpretentious, with very well-kept grounds and parking area. After you open the doors and walk inside, you enter a different kind of church than you could have expected. The interiors are strikingly colorful, but there is no mistaking that you are inside a church. Each church I visited, although unexpectedly vivid, was very tasteful and was a “feel-good” place.

I discovered Czech and German immigrants settled in this area of Texas in the mid-1800s. As the immigrants settled in this area, they, of course, attempted to replicate churches from their previous homes. Marble, gold, and elegant carvings were unavailable in Texas a hundred years ago. These ingenious immigrants used paint to decorate their churches instead. The artwork was done by hand, implementing freehand painting, faux marbled columns, and stencils.

These churches conduct regular services, generally on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings, but are open for self-guided tours during the day if services are not taking place. Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce conducts tours as well.

St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption
821 FM 1295
Flatonia, TX

Stunning painted churches in Texas
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption

St. Mary’s, constructed in 1895, is one of the oldest painted churches. It is the first Catholic church in Texas to have a primarily Czech congregation. This church is in the Gothic Revival style and decorated by Swiss fresco artist Gottfried Flurry. His designs in this church mirror the old churches in Central Europe. This church has a white altar but is gilded in 24 karat gold.

St. Mary Catholic Church
2833 F.M. 2672
Schulenburg, Texas

Stunning painted churches in Texas
St. Mary’s Catholic Church

The 1906 St. Mary’s church, nicknamed “Queen of the Painted Churches,” went through a renovation in 2011 to return it to its original look. Interestingly, this church’s light blue wash scrollwork ceiling is not painted. A painted canvas attached to the church’s ceiling gives the appearance of a vaulted ceiling. The columns have a faux marble finish that looks absolutely like natural marble. Also, this church contains a painted reproduction of Michelangelo’s Pietà sculpture.

Stunning painted churches in Texas
Interior of St. Mary’s Catholic Church

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
7745 Mensik Rd.
Schulenburg, Texas

Stunning painted churches in Texas
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

St. John was built in 1919 and is the third church in the same spot. A church was built in 1890 but destroyed by a tornado in 1909 and the second church burned down in 1917. Can you imagine the importance the community placed on its church to rebuild it three times in such a brief period? St. John is a Gothic Revival-styled church that implements decorative elements of both the German and Czech immigrants. Some statues were saved from the fire and adorn the church today.

Saints Cyril and Methodius Church
4148 F.M. 1383
Dubina, Texas

Stunning painted churches in Texas
Saints Cyril and Methodius Church

This church has a locked gate just inside the door to prevent entry into the sanctuary when it is not in use. Although this gate limits the view, you still see the beauty of this church. It was built in 1887, destroyed by a hurricane in 1909, and rebuilt in 1912. An iron cross from the original church sits at the top. Tom Lee, a formerly enslaved person, made the cross.

The interior, renovated in 1983, now contains 3,263 white gold leaf stars painted on the luminous blue ceiling of this church. During the 50s, the diocese believed the ceiling to be too distracting and whitewashed over the designs and floral stenciling.

My painted churches trip will have to be resumed soon. I only had time to visit four of them. That leaves 16 more! I love trips that I can continue, like this one.

Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church
306 S Ave F
Shiner, Texas

Stunning painted churches in Texas

More about stunning painted churches in Texas

Update: Yes, two painted churches with the same name in Texas. One is in Dubina, and one is in Shiner. Finding two painted churches with the same name was confusing because I am unfamiliar with Catholic Saints.

I have discovered that more than a few Catholic churches in Texas have the namesakes of the two saints, Cyril and Methodius. As monks, Cyril and Methodius were the first to translate the Bible into Czech, making them essential saints for these congregations.

We were also able to visit this Cyril and Methodius church in Shiner, Texas.

Take a look at my post, Adventures in Yoakum and Shiner, Texas, to read about this beautiful church and see interior photos. The Shiner church is the largest painted church I have seen so far.

Stunning painted churches in Texas

9 thoughts on “Stunning painted churches in Texas

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Yoakum and Shiner, Texas | Always Want To Go
  2. Our group has a trip planned to these Saturday, March 28th.
    wanna go again?
    Your info is very descriptive and inviting.
    I’m sure our trip will be well worth it to Schulenburg.
    Thank You

  3. Oh my goodness those churches are breath taking and very beautiful. I’d like to go with you some day.

    1. Thank you Lucy! They are truly beautiful and you just feel good when you walk inside. I’ll let you know when I plan another trip.

  4. Beautiful Historic Churches! A great weekend trip! Would love to travel there and attend one of the masses at the churches in the Spring!
    Thanks for sharing your adventure. Great Pictures!

    1. It was a great trip. This was only a day trip for me but I only saw a few churches in that one day. A weekend trip would be even better. The history of these churches fascinated me.

    1. There are 16 more to see! A great day trip.

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