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Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church

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1901, James Wahrenberger; George Strauch, builder. 1008 S. Alamo St.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead)

Because U.S. 77 curves as it crosses the Mission River to enter Refugio on S. Alamo Street, travelers see the south side elevation and spire of Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church above the river valley for some distance as they approach. Texas-born, German-trained San Antonio architect Wahrenberger made no effort to stylistically thematize the parish's origin in the Franciscan mission of Nuestra Señora del Refugio. Yet because of its siting, the clapboard-faced church—with its round-arched windows; slender, centered Gothic-styled spire; and pinnacled piers—is Refugio's identifying architectural landmark, as its predecessors have been since the end of the eighteenth century. Wahrenberger's church occupies the site of the 1795 mission; one of the mission bells is exhibited inside. What remained of the Franciscan mission church after secularization and transfer to Power and Hewetson was bombarded during the Battle of Refugio when the Anglo-Americans used it as a fort. In 1866, the building stones of the mission were used to construct the predecessor of the present church. The church was constructed by Refugio builder Strauch. Our Lady of Refuge was rehabilitated in 1975.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church", [Refugio, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 490-490.

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