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St. Louis Catholic Church (1868) in Castroville, Medina County, was built by immigrants from the region of Alsace, France. It was the third to be erected under the leadership of Bishop Dubius and was one of the largest churches in Texas at that time. It is built in Gothic style with local limestone in a shape of a rectangular onestory single nave (156’-5” x 50’-5”) covered with a double-pitched roof. The stained glass windows, depicting the history of St. Louis, king of France, were imported from Europe via Galveston. “The heavy stone walls seem to rise heavenward with all the faith, and love, and pride of the great Cathedrals of Europe.”7

St. Louis Catholic Church

Images courtesy of Anat Geva unless otherwise noted

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church

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St. Paul’s Luther an Church (1871) in Serbin, Lee County, was built by the Wends who immigrated from Lusatia, Germany, under the leadership of Pastor Jan Kilian. The Wends, a people of Sorb origin, left their homeland in search of religious liberty. Their church in Serbin became the first Missouri Synod Church in Texas, while their school was the only Wendish school in America. The shape of the building is a rectangular single nave (40’-10” x 70’) that includes an interior balcony extending all around the church 20 feet above the floor. The painted blue-turquoise interior and the original seating arrangement (men sat in the balcony) mimicked that of their homeland churches in Germany. The original ornate chandeliers were adapted to electricity and are still in use. The church was built of thick red sandstone, plastered partially outside and completely inside. Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (1877) in Cestohowa, Karnes County, was built by Polish immigrants from the region of Silesia. Built with local limestone, it was stuccoed on the outside and painted white, and plastered inside and painted light sky blue. The church was built in the style of Polish Gothic cathedrals with a shape of a rectangular one-story single nave (71’-11” x 138’-4”) and a cross-gabled roof. It derives its Gothic character from applied ornament and details (such as buttresses/pilasters) that serve only for visual effect. Similarly, the barrel-vaulted ceiling has no bay spacing. Although the exterior has been restored several times, the interior’s original woodwork has remained the same through the years. continued on p.48

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Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2007: Sacred Space  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...

Texas Architect Nov/Dec 2007: Sacred Space  

Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other...