Friday, August 24, 2018

Sunday Houses

I've been working on a new series.  Like an old teabag I've been steeped in research since the first of the year, and just learned about Sunday houses.  

A Sunday house was a small second dwelling located next to a church. These houses were built by devout German farmers and ranchers who lived in the Texas Hill Country. 
Originally, German settlements were laid out as farm communities and farmers were given town lots. They were expected to live in town and drive out to their farms or ranches to work. Soon farmers found it less of a hassle to live on their distant farms than to travel back and forth each day.
Every Saturday they packed up their families and traveled to town. There they would purchase supplies, attend to business and, if necessary, receive medical treatment.   
Saturday nights was a time to socialize and this generally included a dance. They would then spend the night at their Sunday houses and attend church the following morning. Families would return to farms or ranches on after church on Sunday or wait till Monday.

Wood-framed Sunday houses were small and usually had only one and half rooms. Gabled attics where children slept were reached from outside staircases.  The pitched roofs were made from handmade cypress shingles and the windows and woodwork embellished with mill work.  The first floor had a lean-to kitchen and covered porch.  A fireplace provided warmth and cooking facilities, but there was no running water. 
These second dwellings fell out of favor in the 1920s.  Improved roads and the automobile made Sunday houses no longer necessary. Fortunately, many of these charming tiny houses still exist in Gillespie County. 
Now if I could just figure out how to work a Sunday house into my story….

If you had a Sunday house, where would it be located?

New, new, new!
Cowboy Charm School
(The Haywire Brides)

When buying a horse,
don't consult a pedestrian.
When courting a woman
don't ask advice of a bachelor.



  1. I love the idea of a Sunday house, but for me it would be a vacation house! I would have it as close to the ocean or lake as possible. Love the idea!

    1. Hi Connie, mine would be close to the ocean, too. We'd be neighbors!

  2. That's really interesting! I would love a Sunday house, somewhere in the woods by a large pond. I can dream right?

    1. Absolutely! It's fun to dream. Love the idea of a little house in the woods.

  3. Hi Margaret, I never heard of Sunday houses before! They're so cute. If I had one, it would be at the beach. By the way, the house with the green roof (above) looks like my grandmother's, only hers was twice as big and not a Sunday house.

    1. Hi Marilyn, yes, they are cute. Strange as it seems, small houses are coming back in style. I recently heard on the news that tiny homes (less than 500 sq.ft) are appreciating faster than larger homes. Hard to imagine living in such tiny houses.

  4. I learned about Sunday Houses when we visited Fredericksburg, TX. There are still some standing. It sure is a unique part of history. I agree, that if I had one, it would be near the ocean.

  5. Vickie, I hope you took photos. Looks like the beach is a favorite.

  6. Hi Margaret, I had never heard of Sunday houses! What a wonderful way to be part of a community. I take it that each family had their own Sunday house. Seems like a great idea. And the modern "tiny homes" would fit the bill perfectly.