Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day Tripping to SchulenBurg Texas

After spending most of yesterday reflecting of past Adventures, I decided to do a day trip today...You see Texas is Blessed at having an abundance of History and I am Blessed to be living in Texas...the "Perfect Storm"..of sorts...Todays trip...Schulenburg, Texas a  road trip east on I-10, about 90 miles...why you ask...well the Texas Legislature designated Schulenburg the "Official Home of Painted Churches" in 2005 ...and that was good enough for about a short bit of history,,,,

Schulenburg Mansion...Horst Kelly Photographer

Schulenburg  Texas is called a “railroad town”, “halfway to everywhere”, the “musician town”, “home of the painted churches”, “gateway to the rolling hills” and many others. It was founded when the Galveston, Houston and San Antonio Railway reached here in 1873. At that time the many people in the communities of Lyons and High Hill moved to the new railroad town of Schulenburg. Schulenburg was named after Louis Schulenburg who donated the land for the city. Before the town of Schulenburg was born, English, German, Czech and other European citizens settled this area bringing with them their religion, beliefs, tools and way of life.

Assumption Of Blessed Virgin Mary Church..Praha Tx...Horst Kelly Photographer

The first stop along the route was Praha, Tx...
 Praha, on Farm Road 1295 three miles east of Flatonia in southern Fayette County, was originally known as Mulberry and Hottentot, the latter apparently referring to a band of outlaws. James C. Duff, William Criswell, and Leroy Criswell first settled the area. During the mid-1850s a

Assumption Of Blessed Virgin Mary Church..Praha Tx...Horst Kelly Photographer

 Bohemian immigrant named  Mathias Novak came to the region. After working a short while for the American settlers, he saved enough money to buy 100 acres of land and build a house where early masses were celebrated. Other Bohemian immigrants included John Baca, Joseph Vyuiala, Andreas Gallia, Joseph Hajek, Frank Vacl, and George Morysek. In 1858 the Bohemian settlers changed the town's name to Praha in honor of Prague, the capital of their homeland. In 1865 Joseph Bithowski, a Bernardine father, built a small frame church, and at midnight on Christmas Day the first Mass was offered. In 1868 a public school was established, and by the 1880s Praha had three stores, a restaurant, and a new frame church, which served as the mother parish for surrounding towns. A post office started service in 1884, and in 1896 a Czech Catholic school was established. In 1873, when the Southern Pacific Railroad was built a mile north of town, Flatonia, a new town founded near the tracks, began to draw business away from Praha. During the twentieth century the population of Praha never rose above 100, and in 1906 the post office closed. By 1968 the population had dropped to twenty-five, where it remained in 2000...

Next on the Route was Freyburg, Texas...
United Methodist Church...Freyburg Tx...Horst Kelly Photographer    
Freyburg is at the intersection of Farm roads 956 and 2238, twelve miles southwest of La Grange in southwestern Fayette County. It was founded about 1868 by Germans and named for a town in Germany. Methodist services were held in local homes, then in a store and a school building. In 1879 the Freyburg Methodist Church, described as "an open plan Gothic Church with a central bell tower," was constructed. By 1886 Freyburg had a blacksmith shop and C. F. Thulemeyer's general store. A post office was opened in 1889, and by 1896 the community had fifty inhabitants, a saloon, a grocery store, and a general store. In the early 1900s the Order of Sons of Hermann had a dance hall in the community. The post office closed in 1907, and in 1940 Freyburg had forty inhabitants, one business, and a number of scattered dwellings. In the 1970s it comprised an old store, an old gin, several cemeteries, scattered homes, and Lutheran and Methodist churches. In 2000 Freyburg had a population of forty-five, and a bed and breakfast operated in an old farmhouse there. In 2004 the recently restored Freyburg Methodist Church celebrated its 125th anniversary...

United Methodist Church...Freyburg Tx...Horst Kelly Photographer    

Next it was off to High Hill Texas...
St. Mary's Church..High Hill Tx Horst Kelly Photographer

From Hostyn, return to US 77 and head south just over five miles to the intersection of FM 956. Turn right and head west on FM 956 for slightly more than a mile to the intersection of FM 2672. Turn left and drive south for 2.7 miles to the community of High Hill.

St. Mary's Church..High Hill Tx Horst Kelly Photographer

This town was once a thriving community on a stagecoach line but, when bypassed by the railroad in 1874, the population began dwindling—but not before the construction of the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin church, also known as St. Mary Church, this structure was built in 1906 and painted six years later. The red brick building, designed by Texas architect Leo Dielmann, boasts a Gothic style. The church is noted for its wooden columns, painted to resemble marble, stained glass windows, and religious statuary.

St. Mary's Church..High Hill Tx Horst Kelly Photographer

 The church also has a history of a European-style seating arrangement...Next was north to Ammannsville...
 Ammannsville was settled during the 1870s by German and Czech immigrant farmers on lands originally allotted to the Fayette County schools. The first settler in the community was Andrew Ammann, who arrived on March 12, 1870. He was a noted architect as well as a farmer. Other early family names included Kossa, Sobolik, Heller, Stefek, Fietsam, Munke, Bartos, Holster, Lidiak, Ohnheiser, and Zoesper. In 1876 the first business opened, and by 1879 the town had a post office and a public school.
St. John The Baptist Church..Ammannsville Tx..Horst Kelly Photographer
 John The Baptist Church..Ammannsville Tx..Horst Kelly Photographer

A Catholic church and school opened in 1890 with Father Jules Vrana as priest. The church was destroyed by a storm in 1909 and rebuilt and dedicated on November 24, 1910. Shortly thereafter it was destroyed by fire and again rebuilt.

John The Baptist Church..Ammannsville Tx..Horst Kelly Photographer

 In 1900 Ammannsville had three stores and saloons, two blacksmith shops, one drugstore, one physician, and two gins. The post office was discontinued in 1906; mail was delivered from Weimar until the 1920s and subsequently from Schulenburg. The public school closed in 1909....

Dubina Parish Church..Horst Kelly Photographer
Dubina Parish Church..Horst Kelly Photographer
.....and last was the Hamlet of Dubina...Dubina dates from 1856 when a group of recently arrived Czech immigrants found shelter under a group of large oak trees (Dubina is Czech for Oak Grove). Its first name, however, was Navidad and then Bohemian Navidad (after the nearby Navidad River).
The settlers planted cotton and harvested only one bale from their first crop. Just when they were adjusting to life in Fayette County along came the Civil War and many of the men were drafted. After the war, Dubina became a toehold for recently arrived Czech immigrants, much like the nearby town of Hackberry was for German settlers.
The railroad ran straight from Weimar to Schulenburg in 1873 and Dubina was ignored. Population was drawn off, yet by 1900, the church still served 600 families who lived within the sound of the Saints Cyril and Methodius' Church bell.
Dubina's first church was built in 1876, but was destroyed by a 1909 hurricane. Rebuilt in 1912, it survived a fire that all but destroyed the town.

I know..this was a long History lesson...I suppose I just got caught up in the moment and wanted to share it with all of you...especially the Czechs and Polish settlers in this area...most folks don't associate that population with Texas....but some of the earliest Settlers of that Nationality settled in I said Texas has some great history....An example is a lot folks  look at Chicago as being the oldest Polish settlement in the United States....not Paul Harvey use to is the rest of the story..

Schulenburg Hotel...Horst Kelly Photographer

Father Leopold Moczygemba consecrated the first Polish Catholic church in the United States at Panna Maria, Texas( about 20 miles east of La Vernia Texas). Father Moczygemba, a native of Silesia born in 1824, came to Texas in 1852 and began urging his fellow countrymen to leave the harsh economic conditions of their homeland and settle in Texas. In 1854 Polish immigrants had journeyed to Karnes County in South Texas and celebrated Christmas Mass with Moczygemba under a live oak tree at the future church site. They founded the community of Panna Maria, Polish for “Virgin Mary.” In addition to the church, pioneers also established St. Joseph’s School, the first Polish school in America, and new waves of immigration after 1865 led to the settlement of other Polish communities in the area such as Cestohowa, Kosciusko, and Falls City. Panna Maria remained a rural hamlet in the twentieth century but enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest permanent Polish settlement in the United States.

Horst Kelly Photographer

Its not just about roping and branding and Cattle Drives to Kansas City....Texas became a melting pot of numerous European  ethic groups...and there you have it...hopefully I didn't bore you too much...just wanted to share a small part of Texas with you.....and that's what makes this a GREAT Country...until the next sunrise...Happy Trails...Horst sends


Saturday, May 11, 2013

A little History about La Vernia Texas...and ...some Utube Humor

Todays post is a History lesson about the town we chose to retire in...a small community of about 1000 folk or so...mainly Ranchers....the folks have high values and a super work ethic....the young people address their Elders as Ma'am, or Sir...the school system is second to none...both scholastically and athletically...both the Boys and Girls have gone to State for football, baseball, volleyball, Girls soft ball, basketball(girls and boys)...had one graduated student(Dustin Jonas) that was the 2008 NCAA Indoor High Jump Champion ...."Badest" thing these kids do is meet in there pickup trucks on someone's ranch on a Friday or Saturday night, build a bonfire and drink Shiners Beer....I was not born here or even resided in  Texas until my final assignment ....but I'm proud to a be a member of this community...Bride and I looked for two years after I retired for a place with a little land and away from the "Country Club" atmosphere...and here we are....the birth of the Lawn Mower Drag Races....even sanctioned by the NDRA....go figure.

Now for todays bit of history for those that are still with me....we have two new Historical Markers in La Vernia...The Cibolo Crossing of the Gonzales Road and Susanna Dickerson....Alamo Survivor...Clink on photo to enlarge...

The actual location was not known until recently when a Friend of mine that owns a ranch in the vicinity was doing research on a unrelated piece of land and came across a survey which determined where the actual historical crossing was... which was located behind his ranch...Here are some photos of the ceremony...

I do have detailed info and if anyone is interested and  will share...Bottom line..don't have travel far to do a interesting "Road Trip" until next time...Safe Journey...and Happy Mothers miss my Mom!!!

ps...found this utube video from a great comedian back in the '60's, Father Guido Sarducci...I enjoyed him then...and I still laugh today...I believe the Smothers brothers had him on the first time...Explains the Afterlife....enjoy..

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Its been well over a week since we arrived home.....and I believe when I posted last we where in Paul's Valley, Oklahoma....maybe a summary is in order. Had a goods nights rest and we where gassed up(somehow that doesn't sound right) and ready to roll by 0700...Nice day, somewhat overcast which makes for better driving, and about 430 miles later we roll in the Driveway at our slice of home before 1500, unpacked and my 1600 was relaxing on the back porch.... sipping a margarita and munching on chips with  hot salsa( not from new York)...all is well with Life....
Rocky Mtn High 1..Horst Kelly Photographer (c) 2011

 One thing I have noted on the last couple trips is that Northern Texas and Oklahoma on the I-35 corridor is now heavily involved with "Fracking"....and this has had an impact on the quality of the Motels in the area..they seem to be catering to the long term young Oil workers rather than their Nighty guests...which is understandable...but what has occurred is the condition and cleanness in the rooms have gone down hill....another reason to convince my bride that Ms. Casita should be our Comfort Inn on these travels...
Rocky Mtn High2...Horst Kelly photographer (C) 2011

The next day Tuesday(30 April)...0530 in the morning...I start getting ready for a Loooong walk and I notice that one of my toes is really swollen and did I bang it against something after my second margarita or is there an infection that set in...forgo walk and call the foot Doc at 0800...bottom line, its an infection..they do stuff that needs NOT to be explained and send me home with antibiotics and instructions on what to do twice a day, etc... well 2 days into this "treatment" I start having a bad reaction to the antibiotics....back to the Doc. and begin a new regiment .....the good news is I can do my daily walks...the weather has been better than perfect and I'm walking 7-8 miles each morning starting at 0615...need to make sure I can see if any snakes are lying in the road....have had enough Doctor visits..

Rocky Mtn. High3..Horst Kelly Photographer (c)2011

Started working on some stuff inside the camper...reattached the bathroom door which I had taken off a couple years ago...doing a side shelf(cutting board) thing by the stovetop to provide some more counter space....still trying to configure that....put some more Led lights  in...and looking at what the best configuration would be when I have the 2 will be tight and they like to watch a little TV, play with their Xbox when it rains,etc....and there won't be any table set up..TV trays and outside eating will be the norm...also starting to look at places they would enjoy...Lynn of "Casita in the Desert, Casita  in the Mountains" send me some GREAT info on the Gatlinburg area...also Barney of OFM had made several SUPER suggestions....I'm starting to get excited...of course at my advanced age it doesn't take much to get the blood flowing...
Horst Kelly Photography (c) 2011

I'll close for now by saying thanks to all the folks who take the time to stop and visit my ramblings and also leave a comment now and again....its like having a whole separate family.... its nice to interact and be able to leave a comment and feel as though we are friends, even if you have never I thank each and every one of you... till next time...Happy Trails...Horst sends