See the Most Photographed Church in the Lone Star State

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Tony Maples Photography


Even if you haven’t attended services in a while, you can appreciate the New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church, the most photographed church in Texas. The building took two years to build and was completed in 1923. The church is known for its 104-foot copper steeple. Because it’s surrounded by farmland, the steeple can be seen for miles around!

The church interior is also attractive. There is an austere pipe organ near the pulpit. Familiar looking wooden pews feature comfortable red cushions. All in all, the church is beautiful in a traditional way.

As you may imagine, people often stop and take pictures when they see this building. The New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church is known as the most photographed church in Texas and for good reason. As a matter of fact, tourists occasionally arrive in buses just to see the place.

A few movies have also shot at the church, including “The Great Waldo Pepper” and “The Tree of Life.” The footage of the building may not have made it into the final cuts, but the films did shoot scenes at that location.

See the Most Photographed Church in the Lone Star State

Photo: @jloveclicks via Twenty20

The congregation itself has a lengthy past. First organized in 1876, services have convened continuously through the present day. Originally, the congregation’s services were conducted in Swedish. English services only started in 1923.

Swedish-themed services are still held at the church on December 13th and Christmas Day. Some of the congregants are descended from original Swedish settlers.  Other congregation members travel from Thrall or Thorndale to be here.

If you’re interested in taking a drive to see the church, it’s in an easily accessible location. The church is located about 20 miles east of Austin, off highway 290 East. If you’re coming from Elgin, it’s about 20 miles west of the city.

Please be respectful. This church is still active, and the parishioners host events in the building throughout the year.

You may want to take a trip to see the church soon. While New Sweden (the surrounding township) is still basically the same as it was in 1876, new development is rumored to be coming to the area. That’s great for the locals, but more buildings in the area may mean the effect of that 104-foot steeple would be diminished.

But for now, you can go and see the New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church in all its glory. Just one more reason to take a road trip in Texas.