Built in 1929, St. Mary's Catholic Church in Umbarger provides services for citizens of Umbarger and the broader Casto and Deaf Smith County region. During World War II, Italian POWs held at nearby Camp Hereford were commissioned to decorate the interior of St. Mary's Catholic Church, painting frescos and creating wood carvings that still adorn the church today. Several Umbarger residents assisted in the creation of the frescos by posing as models for angels and other biblical figures, and by providing wood for a carving of the famed scene of Jesus Christ's last supper.
Although most are located in Central Texas, in 1983 St. Mary's received designation on the National Register of Historic Places as one of Texas' famous painted churches.
Watch the following videos to learn more about World War II POW Camps in Texas, and the Italian POW artists who decorated St. Mary's Church and who built the memorial chapel at the POW camp in Hereford. These videos were produced for inclusion in the World War II on the Texas Home Front mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel mobile app. Learn more about the tour and the app on the World War II theme page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-world-war-ii
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's is an active church. Please contact the church before visiting, and always be respectful of church services.