Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Jaw Droppingly Beautiful Painted Churches of Hill Country in Texas

 Columbus, Texas might be in the middle of nowhere, and you might think there is very little to do here, but you'd be wrong!

Sparky had heard about the "painted churches being on every Texan's bucket list", so she just had to find out what that was all about.

There are NINE (?) churches to be seen on a drivable tour that can easily be done in a half day's drive, depending on how much time you want to spend at each location, and how good a navigator you are. And no....Sparky did not get lost even though she drove herself today! (THAT'S a first, Eldo chimes in.) Hey, now... Sparky is getting better at getting around with a decent map and decent GPS. But she did have to call Eldo and ask did she want to get on I-10 east coming back? Or I-10 west to get back to the campground? (It's east-She just wanted to confirm with Eldo as the GPS does make mistakes sometimes!).This was an easy driving tour.  The map is $5.00 from the Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce, you can drive yourself around or have a guided tour when they offer them. It's a good map. (VERY IMPORTANT for Sparky to have, haha.) Mileages are on the map so you can watch for landmarks and turning points from stop to stop. Sparky chose four to visit today, or run the risk of getting lost out in the boonies on a limited tank of gas. (oopsie...forgot to fill up before heading out!)

A little background...The Germans and Czechs settled this central area of Texas back in the mid 19th century. They brought their foods, their clothing styles, their language, and their heritage with them. One of the unique ways to celebrate their faith, was to paint the insides of their churches in the most beautiful and amazing designs, as the outsides look like ordinary countryside churches. The church on the left is St. Mary's Catholic Church, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Praha, stop #1 from the Chamber of Commerce center in Schulenburg, where Sparky picked up her map. Sparky didn't encounter a single soul today while driving around, so it was wonderful to take her time, say a few prayers of thanks, and take in the beauty of each church. WOW! was all she could say, over and over. Lots of gold leaf, bright colors, and beautifully hand painted designs.

The churches are all open during the week from 9:00 AM to 4:00PM and the best days to visit are Monday thru Thursday.

Church #2--St. Mary's Catholic Church, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, High Hill. (outside shown on the left).This church is known as the "Queen of the Painted Churches" and you can see why. Sparky was in awe of the intricate paintings and trim work...WOW! The colors were so vibrant! Sparky doesn't know the age of the interiors, but thinks they are originally from the 1800's? A guided tour would have been wonderful, but during this difficult time, it was not possible to get one scheduled.
Here is a detailed close up of the arch above the sanctuary.

And here is a view from the side.....

Church #3--St. John, The Baptist--Ammannsville--built in 1917 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is in the Gothic Revival style...

The interior was just as breathtakingly beautiful as the previous church.

This church was in the palette of pinks and greens... 

You could sit there and take photo after photo after photo. It was hard to pick the best ones for the blog!

 A view from the side of the church.....

Church #4--Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church,
Dubina. There was something going on at the church today, so it was locked. Sparky got to look inside the locked gates and saw this:

Now, to get back home...Right next to the church was a questionable gravel road called Piano Bridge Road. The map showed if Sparky went that way, she'd be on her way to getting back to I-10 and back to the campground. Just one problem...there was a sign shortly after getting on the road that said, "WEAK BRIDGE".  "NO TURNAROUND". Hm-m-m-m-m...Does that mean big honkin' trucks like a Dodge Ram 3500 dually shouldn't be going on the bridge? Does it mean semis? Sparky nervously started down the road after seeing a pickup truck head that way. And here comes the bridge....a one-lane...rickety, creaking, groaning trestle style bridge from 1880's. Only Sparky didn't know that until later.

Sparky made it back without difficulties! Whew! The church tour was cool, she highly recommends it, especially with a guide. You would get so much more history that way...Hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of the churches today....Bye for now.....


  1. beautiful churches, thanks for the tour!

  2. Always love the old churches.
    Never fun finding old bridges that might not support your vehicle.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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