[Interior of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Palestine]


Photograph of the interior of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palestine, Texas, showing an altar area surrounded by decorative stained-glass windows and a religious mural.

Physical Description

1 photograph : negative, b&w ; 4 x 5 in.

Creation Information

Creator: Unknown. 1900~.


This photograph is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2007 and was provided by Palestine Public Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 998 times , with 13 in the last month . More information about this photograph can be viewed below.


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Palestine Public Library

Located in Anderson County, the Palestine Public Library provides access to information and various programs for the community's benefit. They received a Rescuing Texas History grant to aid in digitization of select materials, including photos taken during a Historic Resources Study in 1991.

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Photograph of the interior of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palestine, Texas, showing an altar area surrounded by decorative stained-glass windows and a religious mural.

Physical Description

1 photograph : negative, b&w ; 4 x 5 in.


This church is the successor to 1874 church of St. Joseph, built on site given by International and Great Northern Railway, and destroyed by fire in 1890. This building of handmade brick was begun later that year; Nicholas J. Clayton of Galveston was the Architect. The history of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church began in 1872, when Father Louis Granger came to Palestine. Father Granger traveled by horseback to say Mass in the Masonic Hall on Rusk Road (now Lacy Street) and then on to Huntsville to say Mass at the State Penitentary. In 1873, the International and Great Northern Railroad gave a site at the corner of Oak and Queen Streets, Lot No. 9 and 10 were deeded to His Excellency, Bishop Dubuis. The original church, 13x60’ in size, was named St. Joseph’s and was completed in 1873. Palestine’s local fire department was hosting the state’s firemen’s convention n 1890 when the wooden church building burned to the ground. Father Badelon was the first resident, coming in 1874 and serving until 1878. While here he bough the adjoining lot for $1.00 and in 1874 brought the first teaching sisters, the Sisters of St. Agnes, who opened a school on Lacy and North Jackson Streets. Father Chaland came in 1878 and remained until 1899. During this time the Sisters of Divine Province replaced the Sisters of St. Agnes in the school. Land was purchased in 1884 for St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. In 1886, at the request of the railroad, Father Chaland brought the Sisters of Charity of Incarnate Word to conduct the railroad hospital. In 1899, Father C.M. Thion came as pastor replacing Father Chaland. When the church burned, services were held in the Chapel of St. Mary’s Academy until a new church could be built. The cornerstone of the new church was laid in 1890 and dedicated to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Father Thion built a two room rectory behind the church, and in March 1900, the lot to the side of the church was purchased for $600.00. The following year, 1901, the land was purchased where the present rectory is today. Father Bernard Lee came in 1901 and served for 15 years. During his pastorate in 1902 the Altar Society was organized, in 1903 the Queen’s Daughters were organized and in 1908, the Knights of Columbus instituted a council in Palestine. Father George Wilhelm came in December 1915 and during his pastorate the present rectory was built. In 1918, the Sisters of Charity of Incarnate Word discontinued their work at the railroad hospital. In November 1920, Father R.C. Frei came to Palestine and stayed until 1926, being replaced by Father J.J. Kearn. In 1931, Father Kearn organized the Holy Name Society. In 1932 Father J.T. Moriarty succeeded Father Kearns and during his pastorate the St. Joan of Arc Society was established. The beautiful new marble altar was installed in 1932, a gift of Mrs. Georgiana Von Donner. When Father Moriarty became ill, Father J.M. Cody came to substitute and was made administrator of the Parish on March 8, 1946. Msgr. J.T. Fleming was the next pastor and during his service, the fresco of the Transfiguration over the main altar was restored. Father E.J. Brumleu came in 1957, then Father Leo Wleczyk in 1975. The present pastor is the Rev. Zacharias Kunnakkattuthara.


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This photograph is part of the following collection of related materials.

Rescuing Texas History, 2007

The 2007 edition of Rescuing Texas History brings together photographs, postcards, letters, and more to give a glimpse into the rich history of the state.

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Creation Date

  • 1900~

Added to The The Portal to Texas History

  • June 26, 2007, 10:21 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • March 19, 2014, 3:25 p.m.

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Yesterday: 1
Past 30 days: 13
Total Uses: 998


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  • 31.762932, -95.634805

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[Interior of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Palestine], photograph, 1900~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26522/: accessed January 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Palestine Public Library.