The route from the Austin area to Rockport on the Gulf of Mexico goes through La Grange. Memorable for a wicked hill and deadly bend. So we took the “truck route” diversion. Be careful what you wish for! After two wrong turnings we hit road works worthy of a mega-quarry. Half an hour of waiting, well shaken and stirred cupboards of crockery, and we finally reached Schulenberg.
We had been wanting to visit this area of Texas for some years, since it is famous for its painted churches. These are all Roman Catholic, and built by German and Czech immigrants. Over-ornate if you are a Methodist, but beautiful and impressive.
We visited three, and marveled at these gems of European decoration, set not in a big city, but way out in the rolling Texas ranch-land (formerly cotton plantations).
They were difficult to photograph, since we did not want to turn the church lights on and risk Teuton rage at the expense! So I confined the pictures to the altar areas, and could not capture the overall painted walls and ceilings.
In our opinion, the most charming of the three we visited was St. Cyril & Methodious. This is in the first Czech settlement in Texas, now known as Dubina (oak grove), and formerly Moravia. The style is distinctively Bohemian, and the style of the painting and sculptures and paintings reflected this area of the world.
More impressive is St. John’s in Ammannsville, which tended to the German style. The ornamentation was more lavish here, but the jewel was next.
High Hill is home to the “Queen of the Texas Painted Churches”, St. Mary’s. Suddenly you are transported to old Europe, and an interior of “High Catholic” ambiance. Perhaps not everyone would approve, but you have to admire the many thousands of dedicated person-years that it must have taken to complete this elaborate masterpiece.
OK … enough of painted churches. If you are interested, there are a few more pictures at the end of this posting, or you can browse the local web-site: http://peggy-w.hubpages.com/hub/Art-and-Religion-showcased-inside-the-Painted-Churches-of-Schulenburg
An interesting and unexpected day in rural Texas, completed with a spectacular sunset as a backdrop to a more modest church by our camp-site. This was fairly close to the East-West Union Pacific railroad, but after years of camping by the Canadian main lines, we are immune to train horns!
South again to Rockport on the Gulf of Mexico. A pleasurable reunion with Charlotte Plummer’s seafood restaurant, right on the shrimp-boat dock, and with excellent fried oysters. Back to our home on wheels and the challenge of cracking stone crab claws. A labour of love, and well worth the effort.
A cold spell which is supposed to end tomorrow. We also mitigated the Texas drought in this area … it usually rains when John and Elaine come to visit! Hopefully not all the time when we move to Galveston, else the grandchildren will never let me forget that it is entirely my fault.
I promised to take some pictures inside the trailer, but these will have to wait until next time. This is long enough!
Enjoy your winter, wherever you may be!
John (with help and corrections from Elaine of course)
More Painted Church Pictures: