SAINT MARY'S CHURCH, PRAHA (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
I didn't know it at the time but this one of
several painted churches in the area. If
you want to see the above picture full frame just click on the image.
If you were looking for Praha back in 1854 you wouldn't have found it even
though the town was there. Why? Because it was called Mulberry until some
outlaws over-ran the area and renamed it Hottentrot. Later the upstanding Czech immigrants
took the place back and renamed the community Praha after Prague, Czechoslovakia.
chulenburg was in the rearview mirror as we crossed
over the Navidad River. Now I know that "Navidad" is Christmas or Nativity in
Spanish 'cause I just looked it up. I was expecting to find an alternate meaning,
like "little muddy creek" but I was wrong. I know things like mountains and
rivers and smaller in Texas so God could get so many wonderful creations in one area, but
calling the Navidad a river seems to be a stretch.
down at the map to see where we might be and what was coming up I
must have missed Engle.
"Either Engle or Praha is next," I
announced just as we approached the turnoff for Praha. Ms. Intrepid was already turning
the wheel while asking, "You want to check it out?" In mere moments a beautiful
church spire appeared on the horizon.
"See," Ms. Intrepid said, "you've
gotta get off the main roads." When she's right, she's right. And sometimes she
doesn't know how right she really is. This was one of those times.
While I got out to take some pictures Ms. Intrepid
was driving around in their sizeable parking lot taking her own tour of the place.
Normally I don't go inside places for pictures cause they're either closed or selling
stuff, but I could see the door was open and it was Saturday.
Once inside I couldn't believe my eyes. The whole
place was beautifully painted from floor to ceiling. I went back out and motioned for Ms.
Intrepid to come take a look. As she approached I went out to meet her.
"You must look inside. Someone did one hell of a
painting job -- well maybe that's not the right word. Make that splendid painting
As we learned from a couple of other tourists Saint
Mary's is on a "Painted
Churches of Texas Tour" and if this church is typical of the others you
might want to check it out for yourself.
There aren't enough words and most of them would be
inadequate to explain the interior in proper detail. I have posted more pictures
HERE and HERE. Later I
learned the church was painted in 1895 by Swiss-born Gottfried Flury. You can read more
about this place and see more photos on TexasGhostTowns.com.
I can't explain why but it seems every time we go on
one of these trips something marvelous, unusual or quite remarkable happens. And sometimes
all three. After a stop like Praha we knew the adventure was complete.
We rode in silence for awhile as we turned toward
Luling and home. Every so often we'd make some remark about Praha and its painted church.
Flatonia didn't have a chance but we gave it one anyway when we
saw the "Visit Historic Downtown" sign. We drove around, across the train
tracks which run through the big middle of town, and back again. After Goliad and
Praha we had pretty high standards for all things historic and Flatonia fell, well...
flat. You don't need to visit Waelder unless you want to take another picture like this. That's pretty much it.
Back in Luling, home
worlds largest watermelon, we stopped by one of the roadside stands to pile up on
fresh veggies while supporting small businesses. By then the trip was complete and
ended on a very high note. We had one of the best burgers in Texas, chanced onto a
traditional Texas festival, consumed half an adult beverage and went to church --
all in one day.
1: HEADIN' OUT / PAGE 2: SHINER
PAGE 3: SCHULENBERG /
PAGE 4: PRAHA
LULING TO PRAHA:
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