“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Castroville in Medina County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Cross Hill

Castroville, Texas

Cross Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, March 1, 2022
1. Cross Hill Marker
Inscription.  Castroville was settled in September 1844 by predominately Catholic immigrants, brought to Texas by Empresario Henry Castro from the Alsace region of France along the Rhine River bordering Germany. It is long established European custom for a village to proclaim its faith by erecting a cross on a hill overlooking the community. The Alsatians brought this tradition with them when they founded Castroville. As early as the 1850s, a cross has overlooked Castroville from its perch on the summit of Mount Gentilz on the west side of town. This was the highest promontory overlooking the village, and was owned by Henri Castro who named the hill, Mount Gentilz in tribute to his artistic friend Theodore Gentilz. Gentilz helped in the early settlement of Castroville, and as a surveyor laid out the towns of D'Hanis and Quihi, as well as Castroville. The original cross erected shortly after the founding of the community, was consecrated by Father Claude Dubois, the first pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church. A new cross was erected around 1875 after two miscreants chopped down the first one. In 1900 extremely heavy rains caused the Medina River to flood across
Cross Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, March 1, 2022
2. Cross Hill Marker
On the left of the two markers.
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Castroville, such that residents took refuge on the higher ground of Cross Hill until the water receded. Shortly thereafter and perhaps in gratitude for their deliverance, the badly weathered cross was replaced with a new 16 foot-high wooden cross and five-foot zinc corpus, forming a complete crucifix. The St. Louis Parish Women's Organization, the St. Ann's Altar Society, was the principal proponent of this impressive upgrade dedicated in 1902. The crucifix cast its protective shadow over Castroville for about 20 years until vandals tore it down. The next cross was made of wood from two telephone poles. Dedicated on Good Friday of 1929 or 1930, it lasted for the next 40 years. In 1971 it was replaced by the present durable 13 foot-tall concrete cross, skillfully crafted by artisans in Mexico. The cross on Mount Gentilz, overlooking the community of Castroville, stands as a cultural monument to the historically rooted beliefs, customs, and practices of its citizens. Deep faith in God sustained the hardy pioneers in the very difficult task of establishing a colony in the Texas frontier, and they needed only look at the cross on the hill for inspiration as they faced the daunting challenges of life in the wilderness. For over 170 years both residents and visitors to Castroville have admired cross hill and steadfastly kept its tradition alive.
Cross Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By James Hulse, March 1, 2022
3. Cross Hill Marker
2018 by Medina County Historical Commission.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionDisastersSettlements & SettlersWomen. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1844.
Location. 29° 20.976′ N, 98° 53.133′ W. Marker is in Castroville, Texas, in Medina County. Marker is at the intersection of Jackson Street and Paris Street, on the right when traveling south on Jackson Street. The marker is located at the entrance to the St. Louis Cemetery on Jackson Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Castroville TX 78009, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Louis Cemetery (here, next to this marker); Ihnken Family Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Lest We Forget!!! (approx. 0.4 miles away); Joe and Gertrude Hoog (approx. 0.4 miles away); Renken Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Moye (approx. half a mile away); Indian History in These Hills (approx. half a mile away); F. Xavier Schmidt House (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Castroville.
Also see . . .  Castroville, TX.
Castroville architecture and style were distinctly European. A cross was erected on Mount Gentilz. A visitor in the 1850s described Castroville as quite "un-Texan," with its "steep thatched roofs and narrow lanes" and the inn whose
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interior suggested "Europe rather than the frontier." Source: The Handbook of Texas
(Submitted on March 5, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 5, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 149 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 5, 2022, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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Mar. 30, 2023