Many of the people who landed in Galveston as immigrants ended up in La Grange and its neighboring cities and the effects of those Germans and Czechs and Wends are everywhere.

My daughter and I visited Praha, where one of several of the “painted churches” is located. If you have seen pictures, please know that the real thing is much more beautiful. Breathtaking.

To get to Praha, and to many of the neighbors, you go over the bluff in La Grange, which is a big hill which features beautiful homes and the Texas Heroes Monument, a remembrance of the men who drew the black beans and were killed by the army of Gen. Santa Anna.

A lot of the countryside is hilly, with beautiful big ranches full of handsome cattle, including many longhorn steers, all of which are pretty impressive.

There are big oak trees everywhere and if you drive down some of the country roads in the evening, you will see white tailed deer, mamas and their babies wandering through those trees.

But all is not hilly in La Grange and the folks living there shared our big Hurricane Harvey, though nobody around here paid much attention to their flooded areas.

The Colorado River meanders under bridges through most of those towns, and when Harvey started pouring down floods, the river rose out of is banks and inundated the lowlands.

Janet and I drove through one little village composed mostly of mobile homes that was destroyed by the river. To us, it appeared there had also been a tornado, as some of the homes where ripped from their foundations and overturned.

Most of the main city, however, was spared. Other beautiful old buildings surrounded a historic courthouse, one of the beautiful old courthouses, which still adorn Texas towns.

Not far from the square was an old, old cemetery, spread out around roadways, which had obviously been built well after its founding.

A historic marker announced its creation as a place where hundreds of victims of a yellow fever epidemic had been buried.

La Grange is full of bed-and-breakfast establishments, good places to eat and beautiful old churches in which to worship.

To me, the Czech influence was everywhere, in the churches and in the cemetery, but most visible in a big combined service station and general store out on the highway where they bake and sell kolaches.

Wonderful and tasty, they come in all kinds of fruit, cream cheese and, never before encountered, chocolate. They also sell the stuffed sausages that people around here call kolaches.

But those are nothing compared to the ones with peaches and prunes.

Needless to say, I came home with a big bunch of kolaches, now nestled in my freezer.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at

(1) comment

Carlos Ponce

A girl of Czech descent from that area once chastised me for calling a "pig in a blanket" a kolache. She said real kolaches are always fruit filed. But it looks like they'll sell sausage filled ones to tourists who don't better. If it tastes good who cares what they call it?
Kolache celebrations are held in Caldwell, East Bernard, Crosby, and Hallettsville, Texas.

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