The small city of Schulenburg is located in the heart of Texas. Founded in 1873, the town is rich in German and Czech culture. Plan to stay a few days to experience everything it has to offer. If you have an appetite for some ethnic food, you can have sausage, sauerkraut, schnitzel, bierocks, kolaches, or klobasniky.
You can delve into the unique local history by visiting the Schulenburg Historical Museum that chronicles the town’s rise from a train stop to the bustling town it is today. The Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum offers interactive and static exhibits, the original factory where models were produced, along with the historic home of the Stanzels’ grandparents. In the Texas Polka Music Museum, you can learn about the music the immigrants brought to the area in the 1800s and how it inspired later generations of musical artists.
Schulenburg is most famous for the painted churches. In 2005, the Texas state legislature named it “The Official Home of the Painted Churches.” The structures were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s by immigrants and sit in tiny communities in the countryside. They wanted to emulate the beautiful cathedrals of their home countries, however, they could not afford such luxuries as marble columns. They actually used turkey feathers to paint wood to look like marble. The churches are resplendent with stenciling, gold leaf, tromp l’oeil, and stained glass. The Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce offers guided tours of these beauties so that you can learn about the history, the art, and the symbolism in each of them.
You will find many historic buildings and homes throughout Schulenburg including the Baumgarten Cotton Gin, the old cotton press, Louis Schulenburg’s house, the Baumgarten home, the Cranz and Russek mansions, Turner Hall, Wolters cabin, and the Von Minden Hotel. At present, none of the buildings are open to visitors, however, the hotel is undergoing renovations. You can visit the historic bar, restaurant, and dance hall on North Main Street known as Momma’s at Sengelmann to enjoy a drink or a meal while relishing the original architecture.
Another way to get a taste of the local culture is to spend a day at a church picnic. You will be treated to a great meal, live polka music, dancing, a live auction, children’s games, cake walks, and some cold pivo (beer). The most unique event in Schulenburg is the annual Sausagefest, the only event in Texas that features sausage-making contests, and also offers live music, a hog-calling contest, a sausage-tossing contest, Texas’ shortest parade, and a Grand March in the street. Another annual event is the Schulenburg Festival that features cookoffs, a parade, arts and crafts, a carnival, and some “big” musical acts.