Ludwig’s Studio

As I drove to work down highway thirty six, I was surprised to see heavy equipment at work on a building in the metropolis of Lyons, Texas (pop 150).

It was tearing down a venerable brick building.

The structure had stood empty for years, but it had been the studio of a friend, so I had always noticed it because of a stained glass art nouveau window as I passed.

Ludwig Schermer, my friend, had died years before. He was a liturgical artist, which means he designed places of worship and stained glass windows.

He was of the “Great Generation”, but he was not American. Of course by the time I knew him he had become a naturalized American citizen.

As a young man, however, he had been a member of the German army, during World War II.

At that time Germany and America were enemies.

After the war Ludwig had immigrated to the USA. He once told me of a time when he had been on the Russian front in winter. They were short of rations, clothing, ammunition and even tobacco. He said they were stripping the bark off of fence posts to crumble and roll up in paper to smoke.

When he came to the United States in the ‘fifties he attended college in Chicago to study liturgical art.

Religion and humanism were very important to Ludwig.

In time he did art work and design work for great cathedrals in Chicago. He became a major American stained glass artist.

Late in life he married and moved to Texas.

Finally he established a studio in Lyons, in Burleson county, which had once been a depot for the Santa Fe railroad.

Santa Fe, in Spanish, means Holy Faith.

Now, Lyons is a mere crossroads of FM 60 and State 36, with a post office, a restaurant, and a filling station.

Among other projects in Texas, Ludwig built stained glass windows for the Harmony Baptist Church, and helped redesign the sanctuary and windows for St Mary’s Catholic Church in Caldwell.

He put a small stained glass window high up on the wall of his shop in Lyons, which faced the highway.

It was something that I always looked for as a reminder of my friend, Ludwig, long after his death.

Now, the window is gone, along with the building. But my memories of that exciting little German artist remain, a man whose faith bridged two war torn countries, and whose legacy is one of beauty in my county.

6 thoughts on “Ludwig’s Studio

  1. Good of you to write this. Thanks! My mother was a friend of Ludwig’s too and I remember going to a job with him and his son when I was a boy in the 60s. I just inherited a small panel of his that he gave to my mother and was racking my brains even to remember his name when I came across an article about him from the Tulsa Tribune she had clipped and saved. This started me searching more about him and to your blog post.
    I wish I had known him more but my family left the country in 68 and I suppose we lost track of them.

  2. My mother was the woman that Ludwig married during the time he had the art studio in Houston. They purchased a farm in Caldwell and later the studio in Lyons (which was an old drugstore that my mom’s dream was to refinish and teach art lessons to the interested seniors in the area. If you care to visit, let me know.

  3. Hi There, this is unbelievable, I am writing a story about my life. I came to the part where I was released from Federal Penitentiary on a Pot charge. I was paroled out to Houston Texas. There I was to find work and a place to live as my half way house was temporary. Ludwig had a stained glass studio in the Montrose area. He first gave me a job in the studio and then suggested I clean up the attic and live there, which I did. He called me his apprentice, but he never allowed me to do any of the stained glass work. I would clean the studio and on occasion install a repair for a church somewhere. He was a good person. He became my friend. Im blown away that I found something like this. Is there any chance you would have a picture of him. I would love that if so.
    Dwight C Sellars

  4. As I saw the door and window leaning it was heart breaking to know that given the right wind such a beautiful piece of art could shatter and history be lost. I did not know the history of the building or your friend. Thank you for sharing. I tried asking around how we can save it but as you saw it was lost. I hope more people can see his work. I know your blog has inspired me to go to St. Mary’s and Harmony.

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