The Painted Churches of Texas are an iconic piece of history that are worth seeing for yourself. With interesting backstories and beautiful artwork, we recommend them to anyone in the area.
This list goes over all of the painted churches in Texas and where you can find them.
The History Behind the Painted Churches of Texas
Places of worship are plentiful throughout the Lone Star State, but the painted churches of Texas are special. Featuring dazzling works of art that date back hundreds of years, they’re a must-see.
These unique churches were built by early immigrant settlers throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. You can find them throughout the Texas Hill Country, with many in unincorporated areas or small towns. While these churches often look relatively normal from the outside, their interiors are full of stunning artwork.
Brightly colored motifs fill every wall. You’ll see everything from iconic religious imagery to faux finishes that mimic the grandeur of enormous cathedrals in Europe.
So, why do these churches exist?
When immigrants from Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic immigrated to Texas in the 1800s, they wanted to take a bit of home with them. Hill Country is full of communities founded by European immigrants searching for a better life.
Even today, you can see the region’s roots everywhere you look. Settlers preserved their heritage through architecture, town names, and more. The painted churches of Texas are one of the most compelling examples.
They’re a testament to years of hard work. Having a church was a major milestone in early America’s history, and the settlers who came from European nations celebrated the feat by building churches that reminded them of their homeland.
Of course, replicating the architectural wonder of European cathedrals was not possible. So instead, they chose to recreate the gorgeous architectural details they left behind with paint! Instead of intricate carvings and lavish decorative items made of gold or marble, artists achieved the same look with nothing but creativity and color!
The result is a sight to behold. The churches serve as a testament to faith and steadfast hope.
The painted churches of Texas are all part of the National Register of Historic Places, and you can visit many of them yourself.
Painted Churches of Texas
In the past, painted churches were plentiful. But today, only roughly 20 of these stunning places of worship stand. Here are some of the most inspiring ones you should visit during a road trip through Texas.
1. Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church
Also known simply as “St. Mary’s Church,” this house of worship is in High Hill. It opened in 1906, and the vision to bring this church came to life from famed architect Leo M.J. Deilmann. It was one of the first churches built by Deilmann.
Deilmann already served the Catholic Church in many ways. But after studying architecture in Germany and moving to Texas, he designed the church for the community of High Hill. At the time, the Catholic Church urged communities in Texas to build mission-style churches.
However, Deilmann went with a gothic revival because the Czech and German immigrants rejected the more Mediterranean style that the Catholic Church wanted. He also chose to use brick instead of wood to reduce the chances of destruction by fire and storm.
Walking up to the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church is a beautiful experience. Red bricks clad the exterior. Inside are intricate paintings that mimic the vaulted ceilings of gothic cathedrals in Europe.
The painting didn’t occur until 1912. The artists Ferdinand Stockert and Hermann Kern, who already had a reputation for their work in other churches, took on the job. Instead of painting directly on the walls, Stockert and Kern used canvases.
They painted the canvas and applied it to the interior like wallpaper. Looking closely at some areas, you can even see the canvas bubbling! The ceilings are tall, giving the artists plenty of room to work. The columns are painted to look like marble, while gold paint accents every corner. It also extends into the domed ceiling, where the painters created the heavens.
The art consists of iconic religious imagery. The columns look like true marble. Meanwhile, pastel blue copulas feature gold accents. There’s also a Lamb of God painting behind the altar.
You’ll find many beautiful hidden details. For example, there are bible verses written in German throughout the building. There are also gorgeous murals, painted statues, and a recreation of a work by Michelangelo. Stained glass windows complement the paint and allow light to flood the space.
Location: 2833 FM 2672, Schulenburg, TX 78956
2. St. Paul Lutheran Church
The St. Paul Lutheran Church will take your breath away when you walk in. Located in Serbin, this church is unique because it’s one of Texas’s few non-catholic painted churches.
This church is on an unassuming rural road, and the exterior of the building looks relatively conventional. But inside, you’re greeted by a sea of blue and white.
The artists who painted this masterpiece created an illusion of marble, using the finish to paint columns holding up the second level of pews. Blue and gold detailing on the ceiling add to the grandeur.
This is a two-story painted church with pews on the first and second floors. Originally, men sat on the upper floor while women and children occupied the lower. The pulpit is on the second floor, standing 20 feet off the ground. St. Paul Lutheran Church has the unique distinction of having the tallest pulpit in all of Texas!
St. Paul Lutheran Church was constructed in 1870. Reverend John Kilian directed its construction as he sought to create a place of worship for the immigrants who left Hamburg, Germany.
Originally, the church was relatively modest. It was a basic wood church for over three decades. However, that changed in 1906.
The people of Serbin decided to create the impressive look you see today. Interestingly, churchgoers chose to paint the building without the help of a professional artist. So the beauty you see is the product of a community determined to create something special with nothing but drive and a dream!
Location: 1572 Co Rd 211, Giddings, TX 78942
3. St. John the Baptist Church
St. John the Baptist Church is in Ammannsville. Many refer to it as “The Pink One,” and it’s not hard to see why. The interior has pink walls full of ornate detailing. The color extends up the ceiling and into the domes.
This painted church in Texas opened in 1918 but wasn’t the first church on the site. It was the third! The first fell to a hurricane. The second, built by the architect of the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, Leo M.J. Deilman, burned to the ground after a fire.
The community rebuilt the church on the concrete footing of the previous structure. Because it was the third time rebuilding the church, they went with a much simpler design. This structure didn’t have any of the beautiful exterior work of the previous building.
To make up for the lack of aesthetic appeal on the outside, the community hired a painter to breathe new life into the interior. The artist was Fred Donecker. We don’t know much about Donecker. Historians say he left shortly after completing his work and was never heard from again.
A local artist, Gene A. Mikulik, completed retouches many years later. Mikulik and his wife worked to maintain the art for several years, and their dedication paid off.
Today, this church is known for its rose-tinted beauty. In addition to gold accents and images of cherubs, the church features a beautiful green floor, painted sculptures, and plenty of small details to appreciate.
Location: 7745 Mensik Rd, La Grange, TX 78945
4. Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church
You’ll find the Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Dubina, Texas. It’s a beautiful house of worship, most known for its vibrant blue artwork.
The town of Dubina started when a group of families from Moravia moved to Central Texas. They chose the area because of its beautiful oak trees. After the Civil War, the families built a church.
Unfortunately, that church fell like many structures after a hurricane in 1909. The community commissioned another church in 1912.
The original church had a beautiful iron cross built by a formerly enslaved person, Tom Lee. Even after the storm of 1909, the cross survived. They reused it for the Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, and you can still see it today.
Inside this painted church in Texas, you’ll find art that mimics the gothic architecture of Europe. The blue ceilings and domes feature gold stars, creating an ethereal look you don’t want to miss.
Many windows allow light to flood in, adding to the beauty.
The community covered the original artwork in the 1950s after a local diocese said that the colors were too distracting. Fortunately, Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church restored the artwork in 1980.
Location: 4148 FM 1383, Schulenburg, TX 78956
5. St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption
When you first walk in, the St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption looks relatively normal. But set your gaze upwards, and you’ll see the beauty that’s stood the test of time!
St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption is one of the oldest painted churches in the area. Builders finished it in 1895, making it a landmark for the town of Praha. The architect was O. Kramer.
The art is the work of Gottfried Flury. He didn’t complete the work until 1901. Originally, the paint was much simpler. While beautiful, it needed more embellishment.
That’s when Father Netardus, an amateur painter, made the work more ornate. Many decades later, Gene A. Mikulik added even more detail. His contributions include gold leaf additions and the “Our Lady of Victory” mural.
While the inside of the church has wooden beams, the artists painted it to look like the columns in a European basilica. Golden crown molding, gold accents, and more add to the beauty.
The church is most known for its blue ceiling, painted like the Garden of Eden. In addition to a vast sky of clouds, you’ll see flowers and plants native to Texas.
At the center of the painted church is a white altar adorned with 24-karat gilding.
Location: 821 FM1295, Flatonia, TX 78941
6. Wesley Brethren Church
Here’s another inspiring house of worship in Dubina. Out of all the painted churches in Texas, this is one of the oldest still standing. It opened in 1866 and is still there today!
In the days of early Dubina settlers, the church doubled as a schoolhouse and church. The leader, Reverend Bohuslav Laciak, was a Czech immigrant who served as both a pastor and a teacher.
Laciak painted the interior of the church in 1899. According to early records, he often painted while teaching, climbing on ladders as children completed their schoolwork.
There are many unique details in Laciak’s work. The church features faux brick walls that some say represent the walls of old Jerusalem. There are also painted columns and archways that replicate the beauty of European basilica-style churches.
Much of the artwork fools the eye into making you think the building is grander than it truly is. In addition to the columns and archways, a faux apse behind the altar, painted chalices above the pulpit, and vibrant geometric shapes on the ceiling.
Unfortunately, Laciak never finished his work. He died after a hunting accident, and the community left the church as he did. You can even see traces of where Laciak planned to take his art next.
Location: 9453 Wesley Church Ln, Brenham, TX 77833
7. Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church
The Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church was built in 1912.
The building is quite large and looks beautiful despite its white-clad simplicity. The building is unique because it ditches the simple basilica-style floor plan in favor of a Latin cross. It’s an architecturally unique structure, and it has changed several times throughout its 100-year history.
For unknown reasons, the primary tower of this painted church was lowered at some point. The community also added an entrance in front of the tower. It looks much different from historic photographs.
In 1923, the community hired Donecker and Sons to paint the interior. The artists painted the walls and ceiling to look like marble. Stenciled friezes adorn the ceiling, while religious symbols serve as accents.
The ceiling above the altar has a mural depicting the ascension of Christ.
Location: 11134 FM957, Schulenburg, TX 78956
8. St. Mary’s Church in Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg is one of the most well-known German towns in Texas. It was a wealthier community, and St. Mary’s Church reflects that.
Builders worked on the structure from 1906 to 1908. An older church built in 1848 stood on the property. However, the community tore it down to build a stone church in 1862. But after the Civil War, German Catholics came to Fredericksburg in droves!
As a result, the community needed a much larger church. So, they went to Leo M.J. Deilmann.
St. Mary’s Church was consecrated in 1908. It was built out of stones quarried near Fredericksburg. Unlike other painted churches in Texas, this one has a stunning exterior.
It’s a gothic revival with plenty of stunning exterior elements. But, of course, the inside is what people love most.
The inside is architecturally ornate, but artists took things to a new level. Accents adorn the archways and domes.
The painting occurred around the time the building was constructed. However, additional details came in 1936. Artists worked under the direction of Monsignor Alfons Heckmann, adding beautiful stencil work.
Heckmann also oversaw paintings of the 12 Apostles that appear over the arches of the center aisle.
Location: 304 W San Antonio St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Painted Churches Of Texas Map
To make it a bit easier to visualize where these churches are, here’s a map for you to reference. If you want to see the painted churches of Texas all at once, you’ll be able to connect them into one single road trip!
We hope this article made you interested in visiting the Painted Churches of Texas for yourself. Even if you’re not someone who usually goes for this kind of thing, there’s something special about stepping foot in these structures.
Being surrounded by the rich history and artwork is quite something!
If you have any questions or stories you’d like to share, send them over. We always like hearing about our readers’ experiences.