May 03, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

Approaching the exit to Walburg off of Interstate 35, with the sun shining and a few minutes to spare, I decided to take a detour to see a little country church that I’d never stopped to look at closely. I remembered that St. Peter Lutheran Church is tucked beside FM 972 at a tricky intersection with FM 1105. But I barely got off the highway when already the traffic was stacked up along the access road. Construction on FM 972 cut the roadway down to one lane only. With no choice but to inch forward, I waited patiently in the cue until the flagman motioned us to proceed through the construction zone.

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A few miles down the road and I finally pulled into the parking area in front of the church. The western sun made it seem like the front facade was positively glowing. The pleasant proportions of the church and the wood finials on the steeple make St. Peter Lutheran very inviting. The church is well kept and it’s clear that it is well loved. Some thought was given to the entryway, a nice landing for gathering makes the steps in front and the ramp off the side feel welcoming.

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A family marker notes that the current structure dates from 1930, replacing an earlier building that had been dedicated in 1889. From the photo on the church’s website, the old church look similar to this one, though the tower was quite different. The congregation is quite proud of its stained glass, and notes that several panels were first installed in the original building and then reused when the new church was built.

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There’s some obvious things that a preservation architect like me would note as the next areas for attention or upgrades. I could tell the siding wasn’t original. It wasn’t until I tapped it that I realized it was actually a metal siding, most likely used to cover the old wood. Lexan over the stained glass, though offering protection from wind and hail, may actually be hurting the windows over time. Unless there is proper venting (and I didn’t see any specific vented areas) the material traps the heat, causing the metal to soften and sag over time. Fortunately, there now are better systems, including laminated glass frames that can be adapted to provide proper protection and venting.

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With a quick check of my Map app, I charted a route back to the highway to avoid the construction site. The short stop was well worth it. St. Peter Lutheran offers a pretty highway diversion.

St Peter Lutheran Church, 2929 FM972, Georgetown (Walburg), Texas

Holy Place/ Historic Preservation