Galveston Historical Foundation has been awarded a grant from Texas Historical Commission for the repairing and painting of the exterior of the 1860 St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the oldest German Catholic Church in Texas and the oldest wooden church building in Galveston, TX. St. Joseph’s is one of only fifteen churches that comprise the National Register thematic nomination entitled “Churches in Texas with Decorative Interior Painting.”
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is owned by the Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston. In 1968, the church discontinued worship services and the building was later entrusted to Galveston Historical Foundation to manage and preserve. This partnership has been a tremendous success by expanding accessibility of this important cultural resources to the public through a combination of public events, receptions, and community engagements.
Upon completion of the proposed work, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church will continue to play an instrumental role in GHF’s programming and attractions by telling the important stories surrounding its historical significance. Galveston was a major point of entry into the state of Texas for a large number of German immigrants during the nineteenth century. By 1859, Galveston was home to approximately three thousand German immigrants, almost half of the population of Galveston, TX. Bishop J. M. Odin recommended the construction of a church in which German language services could be held. After more than a year and an expenditure of $4,000, the new church was dedicated in April, 1860 to the patronage of St. Joseph, the patron saint of laborers.
Work is expected to begin this summer and competed before the end of 2015. Through the support of Texas Historical Commission and the generosity of GHF’s members, GHF is able to continue its mission to preserve and revitalize the architectural, cultural, and maritime heritage of Galveston Island.