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Talk to TH: June 2012

Reader Mail ~ Reader Recommendations


“April TH is full of bluebonnets, and the painted churches article is worth the price of a year’s subscription.”


 In Praise of Painted Churches

I read Andy Sharp’s beautifully illustrated article “Divine Inspiration” [April] with great interest. My ancestors came to Fayette County from what is now the Czech Republic in the late 1800s, along with many others from the same area. My father’s uncle, Msgr. Netardus, was at one time pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Praha, and painted the pictures of saints that hang on the walls of the church. Also, he was the first Czech immigrant to Texas to be ordained to the priesthood.


I am the art conservator responsible for the restoration of Sts. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church in Dubina  and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in High Hill. Our work can be found at many state capitols and at Fair Park in Dallas. We are currently working on the Tarrant County Courthouse’s 1890s clock, the bronze art of the state capitol of Pennsylvania, the Confederate sailors monument in Galveston, and much more. See

ROBERT ALDEN MARSHALL, R. Alden Marshall & Assoc., LLC, La Grange

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Mr. Netardus and Mr. Marshall for the additional information. And thanks also to William A. Moffitt of Austin, who emailed us to identify the men commissioned to decorate the interior of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in High Hill as Herman Kern and Ferdinand Stockert. He adds that “Mr. Stockert was a renowned painter of his time and also decorated the interior of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, on Commerce Street in downtown San Antonio.” Mr. Stockert is the grandfather of Mr. Moffitt’s wife.

Vitex Not Texan?

Ramona Flume’s article on the Fredericksburg Herb Farm [April] sure sounded inviting and relaxing, but you made Texas plant-lovers shiver when you referred to their 20-year-old Vitex tree as a “Texas native.” This is a common mistake. But, if I had a chance to enjoy the comforts of the Herb Farm, I’m sure I could overlook this minor indiscretion while relaxing on the porch in my rocker enjoying one of their many treats.

JAY C. COLLINS, San Antonio

EDITOR’S NOTE: You caught us, Mr. Collins! In fact, the Vitex is not native to Texas. Senior Editor Lori Moffatt spoke with Living Collections Manager Joe Marcus at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center about the status of Vitex agnus-castus, commonly known as chaste tree. “This plant is a common garden plant that is definitely well-adapted to Texas,” says Marcus. “It’s popular because it is pretty and attractive to butter-flies, it flowers abundantly in summer, and it grows fast. We consider it an invasive plant because of its habit of escaping cultivation here in Texas. Where it finds the right conditions, it makes a home for itself and can displace native plant species.”

TH Reader Recommendation

 Pizzeria Revival

 My husband and I have discovered that The Tomato Pizza, which used to be across from the University of North Texas in Denton, is now in nearby Sanger. It was reopened by the owners of the earlier establishment and several of the employees and makes the same great pizza that we remember. We recommend the restaurant to anyone who likes fresh-made deep-dish Chicago-style pizza, thick-crust pizza, and great hot sandwiches!


The Tomato Pizza is at 303 Bolivar St., 940/458-9063;

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