Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving and Painted Churches

After a busy couple weeks, it is good to join Carissa again for Miscellany Monday.

During Thanksgiving week, we visited very special friends in College Station, Texas.  One day while there, we traveled south to Schulenburg, "Official Home of the Painted Churches".

The history of this place is so fascinating.  I know I may lose some of you here but I want to share with you a brief background on this place before sharing the churches.

The land on which Schulenburg, Texas currently sits was part of 4428 acres of land owned by a woman named Kesiah Crier back in 1831.  It was granted to her by the Mexican government.  In 1845, she and members of her family began selling some of the plots to early settlers, many of whom were Germans and Czech-Moravians.  Hence, the development of many of the small communities surrounding the once thriving, farming community of Schulenburg, Texas.

We took a self-guided driving tour to see the four painted Catholic churches.


The very small community of Praha is eight miles west of Schulenburg.  It was settled by early Czech-Moravian families in 1854.  In 1895, the present stone church, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was built and dedicated.
The beautiful vaulted ceiling was painted by a famous Swiss artist and has never been repainted.

The Praha church still stands today with its original beauty as a testament to the hard work and memories of its ancestors who lived there.

High Hill 

In September 1860, several families left their homes in Neudeck, Austria to travel to Texas.  When they arrived in November, these "new Texans" traveled to a settlement that is known today as High Hill.  There was no Catholic Church in this wild prairie land at this time, and St. Mary's Catholic Church, as it stands today, is the third church to be built on the original nine acres deeded to the church  in 1868.
 It is a classic example of the Gothic Revival style.  It is a mixture of Victorian and the European background of the German and Czech-Moravian settlers as well.  It is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
 Hand painted marbleizing
 Beautiful stained glass windows
 An example of the stenciling


Ammannsville was settled in 1870 by Andrew Ammann and his family.  After traveling to other Catholic churches for mass for nineteen years, the settlers finally laid the cornerstone in 1890.
However, in 1909, the church, school and some businesses were destroyed by a storm.  They immediately decided to rebuild.
Eight years later their faith was challenged again when the church burned to the foundation.  During the fire, some of the villagers rushed inside the church to carry out some of the statues which now stand and grace the beauty of the present church.
In 1917, a third and the present church was built.

 Inside this simple little church is purely ornamental painting with stenciling, infill, freehand and marbling techniques.  It is said that the wonderful painting was done by a European drifter.
 After looking at all the intricate work throughout, I found this rather crude little angel sketch an interesting contrast - almost like a signature after thought.


This little community, was the first settlement in Texas to be founded entirely by Czech-Moravian families in 1856.
Before the coming of the Czech pioneers, the Dubina area was known as Navidad, but after the immigrants from Europe arrived, it became known as Bohemian Navidad.  Later it was named Dubina by the Czechs because of the many oak trees around.  And although they aren't as large as the stately oaks in Louisiana, they are beautiful and so uncommon in Texas.

This, the Dubina Parish Church was first built in 1877, but after being destroyed by a storm, the present church was built in 1912.
 Outside this tiny church were plants literally covered with butterflys.  They seemed to pose when I focused my camera.
 When was the last time you saw an outhouse?  Aren't these pictures worth a thousand words?

I can't end my Thanksgiving trip without a few pictures of our precious family in Dallas.

Chandler cuddling with best buddy, Sophie
 Emily playing with Ava Grace
 The kitchen is always the gathering place
 Dick and I visit with Chandler and friend, Bradley
 Christy and Cassidy steal a few quiet minutes
 Miscellany Monday @
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