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Sacred Heart Church, Palestine

The building completed was adjudged one of the finest in the South—and after forty years have passed all feel that it would be a credit to any city. At its dedication it was estimated that 1000 souls were seated. The comfortable seating capacity however is about 500. Father Thion had looked to the future when building, subsequent growth having justified this foresight. About 600 names were on the membership rolls in Rev. Frei's time. Father Thion persuaded his parishioners to change the name from St. Joseph's to Sacred Heart Church before the dedication, it being customary for the priest building a church to name it. Father Bernard Lee, deceased, succeded Father Thion in 1901. He properly shared with Father Thion the honors of building the church, as such finishing tasks as the addition of beautiful windows, plastering and ceiling, sanctuary built, etc. were all accomplished during his fifteen years service.

From 1916-20 Rev. Geo. Wilhelm guided the spiritual and temporal affairs of Sacred Heart Church, a notable achievement being the saving of sufficient money for the erection of the comfortable brick residence which has since provided office and living quarters for the priests. Before this, scant comfort had been found in two or three living rooms in the rear of St. Joseph's Church or in the two room house Father Thion built for himself on the lot purchased from Hunter McKay for $350. Other lots adjoining the church, lots 6 and 7 were subsequently purchased—the whole constituting the spacious grounds, so beautiful a setting to the church. Father Wilhelm was succeeded by Father Frei who carried to completion his predecessor's plan of building the rectory.

From 1926 to 1934 the Rev. Jno. J. Kearns served the parish. Father Thos. Ryan was sent in July 1934. Two church societies have through all these years helped in their particular fields. The Altar society which sees that the sanctuary is beautified and decorated for all occasions and the Queens Daughters, a branch of the National organization who look after the sick and the poor of the parish. Once each year, the parish men and women unite to produce an outstanding event which, for both social and financial success, has rarely been equalled, and never surpassed in the history of the town—The St. Patrick's Day Play. Then the best of talent of Palestine, the business men of the town and social leaders, all lend their aid. Unqualified success has thus inevitably resulted.

A Centennial History of Anderson County, Texas, 1936 by Pauline Buck Hohes.

Sacred Heart Church. Successor to 1874 Church of St. Joseph, built on site given by International & 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. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1964.  Marker located at 401 W. Oak St. at Queen, Palestine.


31° 45' 43.632" N, 95° 37' 50.844" W