The Painted Churches of Schulenburg, Texas: Beauty Found Inside!

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

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.

Schulenburg, Texas

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

They also serve as memorable monuments to the historic past that is part of Schulenburg's 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!

Painted Churches Interiors

On the outside, these churches look like any other. It is the inside of each of these churches that begs 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.

The original settlers in Schulenburg were a hard working and dedicated people. 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 in one case an itinerant painter was hired to do the job. What these artistic painters did was always magical and different.

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

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

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. This is how the farming community of Dubina came into existence.

Sts. Cyril and Methodious Church was built in 1912. The first church was destroyed by a hurricane 3 years earlier. All that 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.

A professional artist was employed to paint the inside, and he utilized frescoes and stencils to create unique designs. Amazingly, when the church was 75 years old, the parishioners painted over the designs! Some years later, when some 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.

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: male saints are on the right side of the church and female saints are on the left side. Each window is 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.

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.

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.

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 feet, 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 and the three other Painted Churches in the Schulenburg area are well worth a bit of time to visit.

Painted Churches

There are other Painted Churches in Texas, and if seeing these four gives 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.

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


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is there a tour guide or schedule to visit the churches of Schulenburg, Texas?

Answer: Groups of less than six people can visit the churches from 9 am to 4 pm, Mondays to Saturdays without a guide. Private as well as guided and van tours can be arranged in advance by contacting the Schulenberg Chamber of Commerce at 1-866-504-5294 or 979-743-4514. I would recommend taking a tour to be able to fully appreciate the experience of visiting these amazing churches and hearing the history behind each of them. These are all active churches so if you choose a day to go on your own without a formal tour, be respectful if some other event is being held in them.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 19, 2020:

Hi Tamara,

Yes, these painted churches are magnificent, each in their own way.

Tamara Yancosky from Uninhabited Regions on February 19, 2020:

Such magnificent churches, in Texas!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 11, 2019:

Hi Aurelio,

There are over 20 Painted Churches in central Texas, and one of them, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, is indeed located in Giddings.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on May 10, 2019:

Wow, I had no idea such beauty existed in Texas. My ancestors were Germans who immigrated to Texas in Giddings, so I wonder if they have painted churches there too.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 10, 2019:

Hi Dale,

The most interesting part of it was that some of these artists were just passing through the area and created these beautiful church interiors. Their talent is obvious.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 10, 2019:

These are really neat. When someone takes the time to add some beautiful art to something that they could have just painted plain, it impresses me. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 26, 2015:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 25, 2015:

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.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on August 24, 2015:

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.

C E Clark from North Texas on August 24, 2015:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 27, 2012:

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.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on February 26, 2012:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 21, 2012:

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.

Sandra S Eubank-Gray on January 21, 2012:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2011:

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." :))

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on October 12, 2011:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2011:

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 on August 30, 2011:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2011:

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!

Gail H on August 04, 2011:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 07, 2010:

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 on July 06, 2010:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2010:

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.

vera green on June 24, 2010:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 29, 2010:

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!

Joshua on May 29, 2010:

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


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2010:

Hi Chery,

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

Chery on May 01, 2010:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 25, 2010:

Hi zzron,

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

zzron from Houston, TX. on March 25, 2010:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 27, 2010:

Greetings Blogin Up,

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

Blogin Up on January 26, 2010:

Beautiful Churches, thank you for sharing this with us.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 25, 2009:

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!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on November 25, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 25, 2009:

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!

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on November 25, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 24, 2009:

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.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on November 24, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 11, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 11, 2009:

Hello gpetrou85,

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

SandyMcCollum on November 10, 2009:

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

gpetrou85 from greece on May 02, 2009:

very nice,good hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 19, 2009:

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 from Portland, Oregon on April 19, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 19, 2009:

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 from Philippines on April 19, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2009:

Hi RKHenry,

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

RKHenry from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA on April 18, 2009:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 16, 2009:

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 from Australia on April 15, 2009:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 15, 2009:

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.

Staci on April 15, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 15, 2009:

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.

Megan on April 15, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 14, 2009:

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 from Mangalore, India on April 13, 2009:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2009:

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.

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on April 13, 2009:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 13, 2009:

Thanks Colleen! Glad you enjoyed it.

Colleen Gainey from Braselton, Ga on April 13, 2009:

Beautiful job Peggy! Loved the images!

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