We headed to the Fayette County seat of La Grange to “Czech” it all out and stopped at the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center.
Vitáme Vás is the Czech equivalent of “howdy”, and we certainly felt welcome.
With its rich heritage, it’s no surprise that La Grange is the hub for celebrating the Czech culture in Texas. Over 80 percent of the Czech Moravian families that settled in Texas at some time lived in Fayette County before they spread out across the state.
Celebrating that colorful heritage, which deeply enriches this community, is the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center.
The center tells the story of these early settlers who ventured to Texas poor in money, but rich in culture. We walked through original Czech homes, listened to Czech music, and took time to fully appreciate the traditional Czech clothing.
At its 70-acre site neighboring the Fayette County Fairgrounds just east of La Grange on U.S. Highway 77, is the multifaceted home of the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center.
A replica of a late 19th and early 20th century Czech Moravian community is being developed there, which includes authentic old Czech homes, businesses, and an old dance hall.
There’s a wall depicting the names of Czech settlers who helped to found the city, an amphitheater built into a hill on a bank facing the Colorado River, self-guided walking trails with legends in English and Czech, and a gift shop and library to trace your Czech ancestry.
Work is ongoing on the varied aspects of this celebration of culture.
As the name indicates this is more than a museum. The center also encourages the preservation of the Czech language, fine arts, music, and dance; provides a library with archives to promote research; offers space for meetings and educational activities; and promotes cultural exchange between Czech people of Texas and those in the Czech Republic.
The Czech immigration to the Lone Star State began in 1853 and was largely over by 1912. The estimate is that there are roughly a million Texans who trace their roots back to Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Slovkia.
Fayette County was selected as the site for the Center because of its significance in the history of Texas Czechs. It has the largest Czech population per capita and the most Czech communities of any county in the state.
Many Czech-related historical sites and events, as well as prominent Texas Czechs, can be linked to Fayette County. Other reasons for selecting LaGrange included the location and the amount of land offered and the fact that Fayette County is historically significant in Texas-Czech history.
The Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center is located on the county fairgrounds in La Grange.
Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center
Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m.-3 p.m..
Address: P.O. Box 6, 250 West Fairgrounds Road, La Grange, TX 78945
Phone: (979) 968-9399 or (888) 785-4500 (toll free)
Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 7-Part series on La Grande, Texas
Part 1: Czeching Out La Grange
Texas Spoken Friendly
Czech us out!