Rancher S.G. Umbarger founded the town that bears his name in the late 1890s, but it was a group of German settlers – including influential Catholic priest Father Joseph Reisdorff – who began to grow the town between 1902 and 1920. German-Catholic families founded St. Mary’s Catholic Church – originally called Mariankirche – in 1909. Services are still held at St. Mary’s, which preserves its German-Texan heritage.
German settlers from Nebraska put Canyon on the map around 1900, starting Lutheran services in 1909 which later became St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Today, only a cemetery remains where the church once stood. There are more than a dozen military veterans buried here.
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.
St. Mary's Church, Umbarger
St. Paul Lutheran Cemetery, Canyon