Thursday, November 19, 2009

Painted Churches in Texas


As I look back on my life, one thing that I remember from my twelve years in Texas is visiting the Painted Churches. We took almost every visitor we had to see these gorgeous little churches, west of the Houston area. I don't know how many times we visited this area -but it was SEVERAL times.

Research says that there are about 20 of these little churches--but we only visited about 5-6 of them near Schulenburg in Fayette County in the Texas Hill Country (Dubina, High Hill, Ammonsville, Praha, etc.). These little churches --dotted on the country hillsides--- were built by 19th century immigrants, mostly German and Czech. We found it breath-taking as we drove on the little country roads, especially when we would go around a curve or up a hill and see those gorgeous churches with their steeples standing tall throughout the little communities.

These churches were called the "Painted" Churches because when you entered the sanctuary---you would see all kinds of bright paintings, exuberant murals, and TONS of color all around. The wooden columns and baseboards would shine like polished marble in shades of green and gray. The stained-glass windows were incredible. Each of the churches told a story---a story about a people striving to succeed in a new country and yet still preserving the values and culture of their homelands.

If you ever get to Texas, be sure and check out the Painted Churches. They are truly awesome.. The picture above was typical of all of them---showing the color and elaborate designs. The picture above was from St. Mary's Catholic Church in High Hill. This church was built in 1906 and painted in 1912. Below are a few more.




I show you this one so that you'll see just how 'ordinary' these little churches look like from the outside. BUT--when you go inside, WELL----all you can say is "WOW".




The inside of one of the churches




The inside of another one of the Painted Churches




One of the gorgeous stained-glass windows




Here's a close-up of the ceiling area in one of the churches. When they say "Painted"---they really mean PAINTED all over!




Here's one more close-up picture of one of the churches.

You just have to see these churches to believe their beauty. I have many more pictures--which need to be scanned. SO---I'll post more at another time.

Hugs,

58 comments:

Ida from South Africa said...

First time I hear about "Painted Churches". It's absolutely glorious and beautiful!!!!!! Thanks for sharing - my list of places I want to visit someday gets longer and longer….!

imac said...

Truly amazing Betsy, its really great to find these painted Churches all over the world.

Neal said...

Those are absolutely gorgeous!

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, I was not expecting quite that. They are beautiful and if I am ever in the area, they are for sure on my list.

Jayne said...

Wow... just gorgeous Betsy. Thanks for sharing!

Diane AZ said...

It must be awesome to walk into a church with an ordinary exterior and see all that color inside. I love the close up of the ceiling so beautifully painted.

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

These are so stunningly beautiful Betsy, thanks for sharing with us.

Beth said...

Those are breathtakingly beautiful, Betsy. I'd never heard of the Painted Churches---thank you so much for this post. I'm like Ida from South Africa---you keep giving me one more thing to add to my Things to See Before I Die list! :-)

Cher said...

you always have something new and interesting to share, Betsy. may God bless your generous and pure heart. :)

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Hey Betsy! I'm caught up with you!
The GD is a 16 year old beauty!
I hear ya on the manners!I wish people would not use cell phones in public period!LOVE THE BETSY IN THE SNOW PICTURE !!!
We saw the falls when we spent 3 days in Mentone! The churches are gorgeous! GO TITANS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daisy said...

Betsy, I have never heard of these churches before, but I'm glad you shared this. They are so beautiful. Such detailed and colorful work--very amazing!

Jen said...

Oh so beautiful. I'm not familiar with these either. Are they all Catholic churches?

Shelley said...

These churches are gorgeous! I wouldn't mind praying there!! :-)

Susie said...

I've never heard of them but they are beautiful Betsy! I wonder if all of them are used today?

Tabor said...

Geeese. I lived in Texas for a number of years...even ran the Bible School one summer and never heard of these!

Peggy said...

Oh my, they are amazing! These are new to me but want to learn more about them.

Snap said...

The painted churches -- One of those Texas treasures in the beautiful hill country. Gorgeous!

Sandra said...

I have seen many churches all over the south like the outside of these churches, but never seen anything so amazing as the inside. totally amazing and goregous.

Dorothy said...

Very beautiful and ornate churches! I'm afraid I would miss the sermon because I would be looking at all the paintings. Love the outside appearance of the white church. Have a great day!

Snappy Di said...

Well, what a wonderful surprise when you walk inside! Oh to be able to paint like that... green with envy over the talent. Thanks for sharing these photos and lets hope these churches survive forever for all to enjoy.

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love these Betsy...they are all gorgeous! So impressed with the artistic capabilities inside...and the outside is just so darn quaint!

The Retired One said...

They are STUNNING!!!
Thanks for sharing these!!

Small City Scenes said...

Aren't they just so beautiful. I have never seen them but have heard about them and did an article on my Holy Houses blog. Oh a long time ago. thanks for sharing. MB

Small City Scenes said...

Me again. I posted the 'Painted Churches' on my Holy Houses blog on August 15th 2007. Wow a long time ago. MB

Janean said...

think of the time it took...that's devotion!

dj reinertsen said...

i love when a simple outside facade totally surprises you when go inside a structure. these churches are beautiful examples....thank you.

NCmountainwoman said...

I just love these old churches. I think so much reverance is lost in the "modern" structures we are building today, especially the auditorium of the megachurch.

These older ones are indeed places to sit and reflect and worship. And isn't that what a church is supposed to be?

Cheryl said...

How stunning these churches are. Just beautiful. So glad I got a glimpse at these beauties.

Joy said...

We stopped in one on our way to College Station one year. They are so beautiful aren't they.
That is the only one I've been in I'll look for others.
Thanks for all the beautiful pictures

Joy

Mary said...

Beautiful paintings! I would love to see them close sometime. I had never heard of these.

Diane said...

These are beautiful, Betsy. Should I ever get to Texas I WILL look them up (maybe not all). Thanks for the post about these.

Jeanne said...

I live in Texas and have never heard of these, but now that I know it is on my list of "must see." Thanks for posting.

Deborah Godin said...

Delightful! I wonder is there a cultural/ethnic influence behind the colors. Made me think of Mexico or even the eastern European traditions, like Ukranian etc. Really are lovely and joyful, no matter who how or why!

Betty said...

Very beautiful.I would love to see them in person.My son lives in San Antonio Maybe if I ever go visit him I will be able to see them.
~~Hugs~~

Pam said...

Those are gorgeous!

amelia said...

I have never heard of painted churches but these are just spectacular!!

Kelly said...

...these are gorgeous. I definitely hope you paint more churches. Back in 1985 I lived in Germany and saw churches in this style there. They are just so beautiful.

Tricia said...

How beautiful - The outside doesn't do the inside justice. Beautiful!

JOE TODD said...

I was in Georgetown Texas a couple years ago. I didn't know about the painted churches. They are truly beautiful. Live and Learn

Rose said...

Betsy, I doubt that I have every seen anything man made that's as beautiful as these. They are amazing and I am so glad you thought to share them with us.

BellaBliss said...

Heavens to Betsy!
I'm going to take a paint and paintbrush to church with me next time...ours would be just as precious as these!
Wonderful story that goes with these...I hope those people found happiness here.

Queen of Dreamsz said...

Betsy,

I had never heard about the "painted churches". I will tell my sister about this since they are full time travelers in their motor coach. My niece lives in Kingwood, TX which is actually now part of Houston.

These are the elaborate church interiros I've seen other than the Catholic cathedrals in New Orleans and along the coast into Mobile, Alabama....many historic and awesome like these.

They are just divine in every sense...what a place to worship our God...the deep abiding love that's so obviously was poured into these places of worship is evidence of one way, we as humans express our love through beautiful adornment.

I do know what you are saying about your one son. For reasons that sometimes are not obvious to us.... a lot of people never express passion...the "light" never comes on so to speak. But I do know that can change by simply making the choice to find your passion...start the journey and discover your gifts and talents! It's a choice...quite simple but so very hard at the same time for many.

As a young adult my "dream" attitude and pursuing things that were totally unconventional (according to the opinions of those around me, anyway! :0) was not received as a positive approach for my life. Consequently I let go of many dreams and ideas for that time and flowed with what our societies stereotype said we should be doing.

And that brings me to another point....and there's not a thing wrong with either way...but a lot of people can swim with the flow of what everyone else is doing and be perfectly content and then there are those of us that never felt comfortable going with the flow..I've always been like the salmon...swimming against the current! :0) It's not been an easy journey but it's been very fulfilling and still going strong!

I do hope that your son will wake up one day either on his own or by being put in the presence of the right person. :0) Life is short, we should be joyful and content.

As always...thanks for visiting me..I always love to ready your comments..we both know how to write a short story "within a comment section" heehee :0)

Hugs to you,
Steph

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

These are so beautiful...m...

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Betsy: Really nice church, very ornate.

Di said...

Betsy, absolutely amazing! The detail and artwork is stunning. Made me think 'beauty within'.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

These churches are amazing in their beauty.They are masterpieces.Thanks for sharing this.
Blessings,Ruth

Lola said...

Beautiful, just beautiful.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Very interesting. The inside very much reminds me of the Catholic churches where my wife is from -- Belgium.

Janie said...

I've heard about the German immigrants in the Hill country, but I'd never heard of their painted churches. They're beautiful!

Wendy said...

Those churches are beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! What a truly beautiful church! Lovely!

Hi Betsy!

If you like waterfalls, you'll love Hamilton--they have the escarpment and MANY waterfalls and parks--well worth a visit.

If you're in Michigan, you may enjoy Tahquamenon Falls, the second largest falls east of the Mississippi.

thesouthernlady64 said...

Beautiful, just beautiful! Have a great weekend.

diane said...

They are very interesting churches, I have never heard of them before. I sure do learn a lot by blogging. The churches in Brisbane were a variety of Protestant and Catholic churches. There are more protestants than catholics. There are Anglican, Uniting, Baptist and a whole array of other churches that I've never heard of. We also have Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons and more and more Muslims.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

They are beautiful, Betsy!

As you know I live in Brooklyn, NY which has been called the "borough of churches," as there are so many churches here, many of which are very old. Most of them are also elaborately painted inside.

Meems said...

I do feel like all I can say is WOW, Betsy. They remind me of Greek Orthodox churches... so very ornate inside. But I love more the way the outside looks in your second photo. It must have been a beautiful day with that sky so blue, too.

I'm always stopping when we travel to take photos of churches... it fascinates me how many there are and how different they can be constructed.

Very pretty photos you took.
Meems

Marge said...

So, so beautiful! Thanks for sharing these lovely photos and memories. :)

SquirrelQueen said...

Those are beautiful churches Betsy, great photos. Thanks for sharing.

Hugs,
Judy

The Incredible Woody said...

Wow - those are incredible!!