The Texas Czech Heritage Tour Brochure is a TOCA project to promote
and help preserve the role of Czech communities in Texas history.
Galveston - Galveston
Main port of entry for pioneer Czech immigrants to
Texas. Located off Port Industrial Blvd. (Harborside Dr.), the Texas
Seaport Museum explores the Port of Galveston in the 1800s. Computer
database information available on thousands of immigrants who entered
Texas through this Port. Next to, and part of, the Museum is the Elisa
moored at Pier 21. The Elisa is one of the world’s oldest
seaworthy sailing vessels. Open daily, admission charge. For information
write GHF, 1016 Strand, Galveston, TX 77550, or Tel: 409-763-1877.
Houston - Harris
After landing at Galveston the early Czech pioneers
traveled by barge up the Buffalo Bayou to Harrisburg and/or Houston.
Harrisburg is now a part of Houston. The Bill Mraz Dance Hall built in
1947 at 835 West 34th St. is a historic site that became the
social hub for Czech families in the Houston area. The largest SPJST
lodge in the state, No. 88, and the Sokol hall and museum are located
here. Houston is the home of the Czech Cultural Center, which presently
operates the CCC Market Place as a museum gift shop of Czech and Slovak
products at the Northwest Mall, Loop 610 West and North at junction of
US 290 Tel: 713-686-6362, www.czechcenter.org.
Cat Spring - Austin Co.
Located at junction of FM 949 and FM 2187. A
predominately German community that became a stopping point for early
Czech immigrants. Rev. Josef Arnost Bergmann from Bohemia settled here
in 1850. He was a pastor, teacher, and farmer. He is credited, through
his letters to Europe, with being the catalyst of Czech immigration to
Texas. Few Czechs settled in Cat Springs, most moved to other
communities. Bergmann spent his last years in Corsicana and was buried
there in April 1877.
Nelsonville/New Bremen- Austin,
Nelsonville is located at junction of SH 159 and FM
2502. New Bremen is located 4 miles south of Nelsonville on CR 187. The
first group of Czech immigrants to Texas settled between these two
communities in 1851. They were predominately Moravian Brethren and
organized congregations in Nelsonville and 8 miles northeast at Wesley.
A Brethren church is located in Nelsonville. There are eight cemeteries
located within a two-mile radius. Josef L. Lesikar constructed the first
Czech home built in Texas here in 1856. A replica of this home is housed
in the SPJST museum in Temple. State Historical Marker titles:
"First Czech Immigrants in Texas" located 1 mile east on SH
159; "First House Built by First Czech Settlers in Texas" is
off of SH 159.
Wallis – Austin Co.
Located at the junction of SH 36 and FM 1093 just 12
miles southeast of Sealy. Some on the first settlers in the area came
from Fayette County in 1890. The area they first settled in was called
Krasna (beautiful). It was located about 3 miles southeast of Wallis in
Fort Bend County. They planned to build a Catholic Church, school, and
cemetery. Only the cemetery remains. The community moved to Wallis where
the Catholic Church dedicated to The Guardian Angel was built in 1900.
The present Church located at 5610 Demel Street is listed on the
National Registry of Historic Places. The original town site has been
preserved as an antique shopper’s delight. State Historic Marker
titled: "Guardian Angel Catholic Church" on church grounds.
Wesley (Veseli) - Washington Co.
A group of Czech Brethren in 1851 settled in an area
they called Veseli, now called Wesley in southwestern Washington County
off FM 332. Josef Masik became the first formal Czech teacher in the US
when in 1859 he opened a school in a private home and later in the
Brethren church building. The Wesley Brethren Church was officially
organized Sept 25, 1864. In 1866, a single room wood frame church was
built which was the first to be erected in Texas. Some have said it was
the first in North America. The interior has elaborate and detailed hand
painting added in 1889 and 1891. The last service in the original
sanctuary was Dec. 16, 1963. The cemetery, located behind the church,
contains graves of charter members. A new church was erected near by in
1963. The original church continues to serve the Czech community as a
museum. Tour by appointment: Rev. Milton Maly, 6703 FM 2502, Brenham, TX
77833, Tel: 409-830-8762.
Ammannsville - Fayette Co.
Located 4 miles east of US 77 on FM 1383, this
community was named after the first settler Andrew Ammann who settled in
the area in 1870. He immigrated to Texas in 1846 from Austria. A mixture
of Czech and German immigrant farmers settled the town during the 1870s.
By 1900, the town had a Catholic Church, two schools, three stores, two
blacksmith shops, and two cotton gins. Today the only existing business
is Tofel’s Place on the east side of town. It is rustic, with drinks,
dominos, snacks, gas, and local conversation. There is a KJT Hall where
the annual church picnic is held every June on Father’s Day. The
cemetery next to the church contains many Czech inscriptions. The first
Catholic Church built in 1890 was destroyed by a storm in 1909. The new
church built in 1912 was destroyed by a fire on Oct 2, 1917. The
existing St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was built in 1919. It is
the largest on the "Painted Church Tour" and is listed
on the National Register of Historic Places.
About 7 miles northeast of Schulenburg and 5 miles
south of Ammannsville on FM 1383 is, the small Czech community referred
to as the "Mother of Czechs in Texas." Dubina derives its name
from the Czech word for Oak Grove. This was the first community
established in Texas by a group of Moravian Catholics when they settled
on 450 acres of land. The farms they purchased were 16 miles south of La
Grange along the East Navidad River. This group was made up of the
families of Valentine Haidusek, Valentine Holub, Joseph Kahlich, Frank
Marak, Ignac Muzny, Joseph Peter, and Ignac Sramek. The Moravians who
settled here were not the first Czechs in Texas, but those who came
before them, all settled in existing communities. It was this
"group of seven" who started their own town. In 1877, they
built a church dedicated to SS. Cyril and Methodius. Tom Lee, a former
slave, worked as a blacksmith for Joseph Peter, made the cross on the
steeple. This church was destroyed by a storm in 1909. When the new
church was complete in 1912, the original "Lee" cross was
again installed atop the steeple. Dubina was a stop over for many Czechs
coming to Texas. Today, Dubina has an old KJT Hall; several abandoned
wooden buildings, a cemetery with Czech inscriptions, and a Catholic
Church, which is on the "Painted Church Tour." State
Historic Marker title: "Dubina"- on FM 1383.
Fayetteville - Fayette
The town is located on SH 159 and FM 955 and 1291.
Before the 1850’s, Fayetteville was Anglo and German. In 1853, the
first group of Czechs entered Fayette County, and Fayetteville received
its first Czech resident Thomas Batla. By the 1870s, most Anglo settlers
had been replaced by Czechs. In 1872, a Catholic church dedicated to St.
John the Baptist was built. On December 25, 1872, the first Czech
Catholic mass spoken in Czech was officiated by Rev. Joseph Chromcik. By
the 1880s, the population was predominantly Czech and German. The town
became known as the "Center of Czech Immigration to Texas".
The central business district is around a public square on which sits a
precinct courthouse with a four-faced town clock. The Fayetteville area
museum is in the town square. For information call: 409-378-2231. State
Historic Marker titles: "Saint John the Baptist Catholic
Church" and "The Rev. Joseph Chromcik" located at the
corner of Bell and Church St.
One of the oldest Czech settlements, which overlooks
the Colorado River Valley. It is located on FM 2436, 6 miles south of La
Grange off US 77. In the 1830s, Germans settled the Community called
Bluff. The first Czech settlers arrived here in Nov 1856. The Czechs who
first settled here and Dubina came to Texas on the same ship. They built
a small log church in the area that they called Hostyn. The Czechs named
the area Hostyn because it reminded them of their pilgrimage site in
Moravia. The name was officially changed to Hostyn in 1925. The first
Czech Catholic School in Texas was established in 1868. During that
year, a large Catholic church was also built and dedicated to the Queen
of the Most Holy Rosary. The Czech Catholic Union of Texas (KJT) was
organized here March 24, 1889. In 1936, the Texas Centennial year, the
six pioneer Moravian families, Joseph Janda, Alois Klimicek, Ben
Klimicek, Val Kolibal, Frank Koza and Frank Marak were honored with a
State plaque. Over the years, many shrines and memorials were built on
the church grounds including a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes in
France. The Grotto was built in 1925 to thank God for ending the great
drought of 1924-1925. The cemetery, adjoining the church, is filled with
Czech inscribed tombstones. During the Civil War, Joseph Lidiak and his
son John (both from Moravia) fought on opposite sides. They are buried
side by side in the cemetery and are honored with two Civil War cannons
on the grounds. State Historic Marker titles: "Oldest Czech
Settlement" - 4.5 miles south of La Grange on US Hwy. 77,
"Czech Catholic Union of Texas", 5 miles south of La Grange on
US Hwy. 77, then northwest 1 mile on FM 2436. Nearby on US 77 is a
permanent monument to Augustin Haidusek, the first Czech Mayor in Texas.
La Grange – Fayette Co.
The county seat of Fayette County since 1837 is
located on US 77 & SH 71. The downtown area is laid out around a
public square on which is located a county courthouse, built in 1891.
The Czech immigrants started settling in Fayette County during the 1850’s.
The SPJST was established at the La Grange Courthouse in 1896. The home
office of the KJT is located at 214 East Colorado and contains a small
library and archive room. TCHCC (Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural
Center) walking trail is located at the intersection of US 77 & SH
71 overlooking the Colorado River Valley on 70 acres. Open weekdays 8-5,
weekends by appointment. Tel: 409-968-9399. E-mail czech@CVTV.net or www.czechtexas.org.
This is also the future location of an amphitheater, museum, and
archives dedicated to the preservation of Czech heritage and culture.
State Historic Marker title: "Birthplace of the SPJST" located
at southwest corner, Courthouse Square.
Praha – Fayette
Located on FM 1295 three miles east of Flatonia in
the southern part of the county. Before the Czechs settled in this area,
the town was known as Mulberry. The first Czech, Matthew Novak, settled
in the area about 1855 and other immigrants followed. In 1858, the Czech
settlers changed the name of the settlement to Praha in honor of Prague,
the capital of their homeland. A small chapel was built in 1865 for
their church services. As the population increased, a new frame church
was built in 1868 and dedicated to Assumption of the Blessed Virgin
Mary. The foundation for the present large stone St. Mary’s Church was
laid in 1891 and was completed in 1895. Praha is known for its two
annual church events. "Prazka Pout", on August 15, and a
"Veterans Day Ceremony", held the Sunday before Veterans Day.
The Church is on the "Painted Church Tour" and listed
in the National Register of Historic Places.
Ross Prairie - Fayette Co.
The community is located about two miles southeast of
Fayetteville on Kramer Rd. This was the site of the first Czech
Protestant worship service held in Texas in 1855. A small Catholic
church, made of logs, was erected in 1859, and dedicated to St. Joseph.
About 1861 the church was moved to Live Oak Hill. All that remains is
the cemetery. In 1874, a Czech Moravian Brethren church was built. It is
now the Fayetteville Brethren Church. Because it was close to
Fayetteville, Ross Prairie never developed as a business center. State
Historic Marker titles: "Brethren Church" at junction of Ross
Prairie & Kramer Rd.; "The Rev. Jindrich Juren": at
junction of Ross Prairie and Kramer Rd.
Schulenberg - Fayette Co.
Located at the intersection of IH-10. US 77 and FM
1579. Czech and Germans settled in the area during the mid-nineteenth
century. Schulenberg was founded in 1873 when the Galveston, Harrisburg,
and San Antonio Railroad built through the site on land donated by Louis
Schulenberg. The Chamber of Commerce at 101-B Kessler Ave. has
information and maps of the historic parts of town and the "Painted
Churches Tour’ of Fayette County. The Schulenberg Historic Museum
contains exhibits depicting life in the early days of this Czech-German
community. Museum is at 631 North Main St. and is open on Sundays 1-4
P.M. State Historic Marker title: "Schulenberg" located at
Chamber of Commerce office.
Warrenton – Fayette Co.
Claims to be the home of the smallest Catholic Church
in the world. The original St. Martin’s Church built in 1886 was full
size funded by Czech and German immigrants. The small cemetery adjacent
to the church contains the graves of the original founding families. The
church remained active into the twentieth century and today is a
historical testimonial to the community’s founders. Most of the
religious articles in the church come from Czechoslovakia. St. Martin’s
Church is located on the north side of SH 237 and may be reached from La
Grange by SH 159 (northeastward) and then SH 237.
Hallettsville – Lavaca Co.
The county seat, located on the Lavaca River at the
intersection of US 77 and US 90A. Many Czechs along with other European
immigrants came to Lavaca County in the 1870s searching for good
farmland. Besides Hallettsville, many Catholics settled at St. Mary’s
and many Brethren located at Vsetin. These Czech and German settlers
changed the community from a single trading post to the agricultural
center of the county. A Catholic Church dedicated to The Sacred Heart
was built in 1881 at Hallettsville. The weekly Czech newspaper Novy
Domov had its birth here in 1894. The city has two festivals, South
Texas Polka & Sausage Fest in March and Hallettsville Kolachě
Fest in Sept., which celebrate the Czech-German
heritage of the community. Chamber of Commerce Tel: 361-798-2662, web
page: www.hallettsville.com. State Historic Marker titles: "Sacred
Heart Catholic Church" located at 313 south Texana; "St. Mary’s
Parish" located 2 miles west of Hallettsville on FM 340; and
"Vsetin Cemetery" located 6 miles NE of Hallettsville on FM
Moravia - Lavaca Co.
Nine miles south of Schulenburg and 12 miles north of
Hallettsville on FM 957 is the community of Moravia. Founded by Jakub
Hollub and J. D. Jalufka in 1881 and named in honor of the resident’s
homeland in Austria-Hungary. In 1889, Ignac Jalufka established the
Moravia General Store and Tavern, which was recognized, with a State
Historical Marker in 1998. The store and adjacent buildings are packed
with memorabilia of the past including photographs. The tavern is open
"4 to whenever" every day except Tuesday with Saturday dances
scheduled at least once a month. In the community is the Ascension of
Our Lord Catholic Church built in 1912, which is on the Registry of
Historic Places. The cemetery is near the church. State Historic Marker
title: "Site of Moravia School"- in town.
Located at the intersection of SH 95 and FM 532. It
is one of the oldest communities in Lavaca County. Many Czech and German
immigrants established family farms in the mid 1800s. St. Joseph’s
Catholic Church was built around 1890. A parish school built in 1894
operated until 1965. Located 8 miles east of Moulton can be found the
site of the old Komensky Czech School built in 1895. The town’s quaint
storefronts are reminiscent of the late 1800s, complete with porches and
benches. Moulton Public Library and Museum has extensive collections of
historic photographs and documents, which perpetuate the strong
Czech-German heritage of the city. Open Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m. State
Historic Marker titles: "St. Joseph’s Catholic Church", at
the corner of Church and Pecan Streets; "Site of Komensky
School", east 7.5 miles and then 0.25 north on FM 1295.
Shiner – Lavaca Co.
Located at the intersection of US 90A and SH 95. The
town was originally called New Half Moon but changed to Shiner in 1888.
Czech and German immigrants were induced to settle in the area in the
1870s by Henry B. Shiner through his sale of cheap farmland. The prairie
around Shiner was fertile and ideal for growing cotton. The Shiner
Brethren Church was organized November 8, 1881. A cemetery is located
adjacent to the Church. SS. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church was
built in 1891. St. Ludmila’s Academy Catholic School was opened in
1897. The Spoetzl Brewery, which still operates today, was originally
built in the early 1900s by the Shiner Brewing Association, a stock
company of local men. State Historic Marker titles: "Shiner"
located at City Hall; "SS. Cyril & Methodius Catholic
Church" located 424 St. Ludmila Street; "St. Ludmila’s
Academy" located 424 St. Ludmila Street.
Caldwell – Burleson
Located at the junction of SH 21 & SH 36. Founded
in 1840 by Lewis L. Chiles, a veteran of the battle of San Jacinto.
Since 1846, it has been the county seat of Burleson County. Josef Masik,
the first Czech teacher in Texas is buried east of Caldwell. It is home
of the Burleson County Czech Heritage Museum currently located at 212 W.
Buck St. but will be moving to the remodeled Polcasek House eventually.
Museum contains local and pioneer history and is open Friday 2-4 p.m.
Donations are accepted. Tel.: 409-567-3271. New Tabor and Frenstat are
Czech communities that are located nearby. Caldwell is the home of the
annual Kolache Festival held the second Saturday of September. The 71st
State Legislature christened the town as the "Kolache Capital of
Texas". State Historic Marker titles: "Masik, Josef"
located on the south side of RR on trail west of CR 208; "New Tabor
Brethren Church" located on CR 225 off FM 166 east of Caldwell.
Snook - Burleson
The community originated in 1884 as a Czech farming
settlement located at the intersection of FM 60 and 2155. It was first
called Sebesta, or Sebesta’s Corner, after the family who were among
the first settlers. A co-op store and a Czechoslovak Benevolent Society
hall were established by the late 1880s. A school was built in 1888, and
lessons for many years were taught in Czech. In 1910, a SPJST lodge hall
was built. A Czech Moravian Brethren Church was built in 1913. In 1914,
a new school, called Moravia School was built. Snook today is a small
thriving community. State Historic Marker title: "Snook" on FM
2155 at intersection with Spur 2155.
Located on FM 2269, 6 miles northwest of Cameron. The
early settlers called the community "Big Elm Neighborhood". In
the 1870s, Joseph Russek one of the first Czech immigrants purchased a
large tract of land in the community and resold the land in plots to
many Czech families. Some of the first families who purchased lands in
the early 1880’s were Jiri, Stephan, and Thomas Marak, sons of Frank
Marak who moved from Fayette County. In 1904, the first Catholic Church
was built and in 1948, the original structure was converted to a Parish
Hall when a new church was built. The present community consists of a
Catholic Church, community hall, small rectory, and cemetery. The Marak
annual picnic held on the last Sunday of August is still held on the
Church grounds. State Historic Marker title: " SS. Cyril &
Methodius Catholic Church" located at the church.
Located 12 miles north of Taylor on SH 95. The town
was established in 1882 when the MKT Railroad branches from San Antonio
and Houston intersected at the site. Because the town was in the middle
of the fertile black land area, the railroad made it an important cotton
marketing and shipping point. Czechs were attracted here by the cheap,
fertile land in the late 1800’s. A Czech Protestant church was
organized in 1880. The Catholic Church dedicated to SS Cyril &
Methodius was built in 1891 and the school in 1899. A Brethren
congregation was established in 1892. By the start of the twentieth
century, Czech culture, both Catholic and Protestant, became very
influential in the community. A Brethren teacher - training summer
school, "Husova Skola" (Hus School) was established here in
1914. It was moved to Temple in 1924. Nasinec, a Czech language
weekly newspaper had its start in 1913 and is one of two newspapers in
Texas that is still published entirely in Czech. State Historic Markers
titles "Granger Brethren Church" located at 326 W Broadway and
"Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church" located at the
corner of N. Brazos and W. Davilla St.
Temple – Bell Co
Located at junction of IH-35 and SH 53. The home
office of SPJST is located here at 520 Main. In its basement are the
library, archives, and museum dedicated to preserving the Czech culture.
Open to the public Mon – Fri 8-12 a.m., and 1-5 p.m. Tel: 25773-1575.
Home office of RVOS is located at 2301 South 37th St. at
Scott Blvd. All RVOS transactions including conventions were conducted
in Czech until the 1850s. The Czechs came to Bell County in 1876. Ocker
was the oldest settlement followed by Cyclone and Seaton. They are
located east of Temple on SH 53, FM 320, and FM 485. St. Joseph’s
Catholic Church, cemetery, and SPJST Lodge no. 24 hall are located at
Cyclone. At Seaton are the Seaton Brethren Church, the National
Cemetery, and SEFCIK Hall. State Historic Marker titles: "Farmers
Mutual Protection Association of Texas (RVOS)" located ½ mile
north on SH 320 after junction with SH 53; "Ocker Brethren
Church" located 9 miles east of Temple on SH 53.
West - McLennan Co.
Located 16 miles north of Waco on IH-35.
Anglo-American settlers started the community in the decade from 1850 to
1860. After the civil war, Czech and German settlers came looking for
land and new homes. One of the first Czechs was Vaclav Mashek in 1875.
Construction of the MKT Railroad through West in 1881 was responsible
for the early growth. By 1900, the railroad and available University
lands began to bring large numbers of Czech and German immigrants to
West. The Moravian Brethren Church was established in 1892. A Catholic
Church dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was built in
1892. The Czechs started to become the dominant cultural and economic
force by the end of WWI. Nemecek Brothers Meat Market, established in
1896, still family operated, is known throughout the state for its Czech
sausages and meat. West is popular for restaurants and bakeries that
specialize in Czech foods. There are many specialty shops featuring
Czech merchandise. SPJST lodges #6 and #50 along with Sokol-West are
here. The statewide performing "Czech Folk Dancers" call West
home. Hospodar (Farmer) the unique Czech newspaper founded in
1890 is now published monthly by the Vaculik family. Since 1976 Westfest
held annually over Labor Day weekend, celebrates the rich heritage
Czechs brought to Texas. The 75th State Legislature
officially proclaimed West as "The Czech Heritage Capitol of
Texas". West Chamber of Commerce for information: 254-826-33188.
State Historic Marker titles: "West" located on Reagan St.
next to Gazebo; "St. Mary’s Cemetery", Cemetery Rd.;
"St. Mary’s Catholic Church of the Assumption" on S.
Ennis - Ellis Co.
The town is located at the intersection of IH-45
& SH 34, US 75, and US 287. Established in 1871 when the railroad
reached the town. The first Czech from Europe arrived here in 1873.
SOKOL organization started here in 1909. The Ennis Sokol Activity Center
is located 1 ½ miles east of I-45 at 2622 E. SH 34. The center houses
the Ennis Sokol and Southern District Sokol museum and library with
Czech and Sokol artifacts and books. It is open on special occasions and
on call. There is no charge but donations are accepted. To visit call
Vlasta Laznovsky, 972-875-3076 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The
KJT, Knights of Columbus and SPJST have halls here. Ennis has many Czech
owned businesses selling Czech merchandise. The Ennis Market and Sausage
Factory sells traditional Czech meats. It is the home of the National
Polka Festival held Memorial Day weekend and the Kolache Christmas held
in December. Contact the Ennis Convention Visitors Bureau for
Dallas - Dallas
The first Czechs arrived here around 1900. Most were
craftsmen employed in the local factories. The American Czech Culture
Society was organized in 1928 to sponsor Czech Day in October at the
State Fair of Texas. This organization continues today to sponsor
Heritage Day. The Czech Club of Dallas was incorporated in 1962,
composed of members of KJT #111 and KJZT #108. It is located at 4930
Military Parkway. The Historical Society maintains a museum and library
at the Club. The facility is open on special occasions and for dances
twice a month. For additional info. contact: Norbert Mikulec
214-368-6817. The Sokol Athletic Center is located at 7448 Greenville.
SPJST lodges #84 & #130 are in Dallas.
Richmond – Ft.
The County seat located on US 59 southwest of
Houston. The George Memorial Library here houses the genealogical and
local history department, which include the Texas Czech Heritage Society’s
entire library collection. Persons looking for their roots in Bohemia,
Moravia or Slovakia will find these resources beneficial. The George
Memorial Library is located 1001 Golfview Dr. at intersection of FM 762.
Tel: 281-342-4455 ext. 308. Web page: www.fortbend.lib.tx.us/lib.html.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, Czechs
started to settle in the Fort Bend communities of Beasley, Fairchilds,
Needville, and Rosenberg. Through hard work, they prospered, built
churches, and organized their fraternal societies. Many Czechs still
call these communities home.
Nada – Colorado
Located on SH 71, about 25 miles south of Columbus.
The original name of the town was Vox Populi (Latin – Voice of the
People). The present name is an American version of the Czech word
meaning “hope”. The community was founded in 1881 by Czech and
German settlers, including the families of John William Schoellmann and
Joseph Labaj (Labay) from the Frelsburg area. In
1889, they each donated twenty-five acres of land for a Catholic Church
and School. A public schoolroom was built on the church property in 1889
where Czech, German, and English were taught. The first Catholic Church
was dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1898. The
present Spanish-style Church was built in 1930. The cemetery is located
a short distance behind the church. State Historic Marker title:
"Nada" on the grounds of St. Mary’s Parish east of SH 71.
Corpus Christi - Nueces Co.
The Czech land promoter Stanley L. Kostoryz attracted
the Czechs to the area in the early 1900s. In 1904, he purchased 7,800
acres in Nueces County, which he subdivided into farms and named it
"Bohemian Colony Lands". The Czech influence in the area
caused the local Catholic Church to have its name changed to Sts. Cyril
and Methodius in 1923. The Church is located at 3210 South Padre Island
Expressway (SH 358) at Kostoryz Rd. The Moravian Club was founded in
August 1923 and the first "Moravan" (Moravian) hall was built
about the same time. The Moravian and Sokol halls are located in the
5600 block of Kostoryz Rd. The Jalufka House, at Heritage Park, is the
restored turn-of-the-century home of James Jalufka, a member of a
prominent south Texas Czech family. This restoration project was taken
on by the Czech Heritage Society of South Texas. The house includes
offices of the Society, a heritage library, and museum. For info. Tele:
Moravian Hall, Julius Zdansky 361-855-4840; Jalufka House: Al Prochazka
East Bernard - Wharton Co.
Located on the west side of the San Bernard River at
the intersection of the SH 60 and US 90A. The first Czechs in the area
came from Fayette & Lavaca Counties in the 1890s. Two of its notable
features are the Holy Cross Catholic Church and Riverside KJT Hall. The
Catholic Church, located in the middle of town, was built in 1924 to
replace the original wooden church constructed in 1906. The Spanish
architectural style church has stained glassed windows crafted by
Moravian craftsmen in Brno, Czechoslovakia. The church is generally open
on weekends. The KJT hall is an octagonal shaped building located on the
east side of the river. The annual Czech Kolache - Klobase Festival is
hosted in the hall. State Historic Marker title: "Holy Cross
Catholic Church" located on the church grounds.
Shillerville - Victoria Co.
Named after the Silar family who settled in the area
in the early 1900s. The community contains the old Shiller (Anglicized
spelling of Silar) family cemetery. Czech Americans settled through out
the rich farming communities southeast of Victoria. Shillerville can be
reached from Victoria on hwy. 59 and taking the Telferner exit onto FM
1686 and then travel south 11 ¼ miles. State Historic Marker title:
"Shillerville Cemetery" at the cemetery.
Austin – Travis Co.
The capital of Texas is located in the central part
of the state on IH-35. The University of Texas is located in the heart
of the city. Thanks to the efforts of the Czech Educational Foundation
of Texas (CEFT), a permanent Chair of Czech Studies has been established
at the university. This ensures that any student who wishes can study
the Czech language, literature, culture, and history. The University of
Texas library system houses an ever-expanding collection of materials on
Czech language and literature. The Catholic Archives of Texas are
located in the basement of the Diocese of Austin Chancery Bldg. on 16th
and Congress streets. The archives contain sacramental and school
records of Texas churches on microfilm dating to the late 1800s. Hours
are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visitor’s parking
from 16th St. behind the Chancery Bldg. Call archivist at
San Antonio - Bexar Co.
Located on IH-35/37/10). The metro area is a unique
blend of Anglo, Hispanic and central European cultures including German,
Polish, and Czech. It is the home of the Alamo and the Spanish Missions
that played a major role in the history of the state. The Institute of
Texan Cultures is located on the Hemisphere grounds in downtown. The
Institute provides a display of 17 cultural and ethnic groups that
comprise the state of Texas. You can touch the buffalo, hide Tipi in the
Indian area, and find a photo of your ancestor in the Czech area. The
Texas Folk life Festival is held yearly in June. Over 30 cultural groups
share their music, crafts, food, and dance with visitors.