St. Stanislaus Catholic Church - Chappell Hill, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Raven
N 30° 07.999 W 096° 15.218
14R E 764576 N 3336743
Quick Description: Organized in 1889 by Polish immigrants, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church serving the town of Chappell Hill is one of the earliest Polish parishes in Texas and has exhibited a strong Polish influence ever since.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 9/10/2014 9:03:57 PM
Waymark Code: WMMF1G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 0

Long Description:
Washington County, Texas experienced a strong influx of Polish immigrants during the 2nd half of the 19th century, with the largest number of Poles settling around the new small town of Chappell Hill. Most of these new arrivals were Catholic, but since the town had no Catholic church as yet they had to ride all the way to Brenham 8-10 miles away in order to attend services at St Mary's.

In 1888, Rev. James Grabinger of St. Mary's announced that a church should be built in Chappell Hill to serve its local community. A prominent Polish Chappell Hill businessman, William Swiatkowski, went to visit Bishop Nicolaus Gallagher in Galveston and received approval for the erection of said church and an election of its church committee. This election took place on Pentecost Sunday 1889, with all 6 committee members elected being of Polish descent.

The first church of St. Stanislaus -- a simple wooden structure -- was dedicated on November 25, 1894 by Bishop Nicolaus Gallagher. Father Theodore Jaron (born in Poland in 1856 and ordained in Poland in 1879) became its first resident pastor. Its second pastor was Fr. Francis J. Nona, also born in Poland but who studied at the Polish Seminary of Detroit, Michigan.

Several successors of Fathers Jaron and Nona were also either born in Poland or had strong Polish influences: Fr. Nicodemus Thomas Domanski (3rd pastor) was born in Poland. Fr. Michael Joseph Tabor (5th pastor) was born in Galicia -- a part of Poland occupied by Austria. Fr. Maximilian Edwin Budnik (6th pastor) was born in Texas but spoke Polish, English and Bohemian. Fr. John Wesolek (8th pastor) was the son of Polish immigrants and remained the church's pastor for 46 years until 1985.

The great hurricane of 1900 destroyed the church's first structure: its small frame building was blown down on September 9, 1900. Services were held out in the open for some time afterwards. The second church, a frame structure of 40' x 80', was built in 1901 facing west and located where the old rectory now stands today.

On December 4, 1921, a fire destroyed the 2nd church structure, the rectory and the parish office that was located on the ground level inside the bell tower (with many parish records burnt along with it). The school building survived the fire and served as both church and school until a new structure could be built.

The third and present church was started in January 1922 and completed in August 1924 at the cost of $40,000. Its large stone structure is Spanish mission style and was built facing south where the burned (2nd) rectory once stood. A local newspaper carried the following upon its dedication:

"The new church for the Polish community of Chappell Hill, Texas, was dedicated on November 25, 1924, by the Rt. Rev. C.E. Byrne, D.D., Bishop of Galveston. The Members escorted the Bishop to the front of the church where a little boy dressed in cassock and surplice delivered an address of welcome. The little speech seemed to impress the Bishop for he tendered the young boy the honor of carrying the crozier through the rest of the ceremony."
Type of Church: Church

Status of Building: Actively in use for worship

Date of organization: 4/1/1889

Date of building construction: 8/1/1924

Dominant Architectural Style: Spanish Mission

Associated Shrines, Art, etc.: memorial windows, frescoes, Blessed Mother altar and statue

Archdiocese: Galveston-Houston

Diocese: Austin

9175 FM-1371
Chappell Hill, TX YSA

Relvant Web Site: [Web Link]

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Raven visited St. Stanislaus Catholic Church - Chappell Hill, TX 8/31/2014 Raven visited it