Texas drew people from the world over, during its brief stint as an independent nation,1836-1845. Among the Europeans who came in droves were the Bohemians and Moravians, now known as Czechs. They tended to settle in areas where there were many Germans, for some reason- areas like what are now San Antonio, the Hill Country and Corpus Christi. This, even though Germans and Czechs weren’t exactly kissing cousins.
I found a gem of a town, with a large Czech presence: West, TX. It is orally referenced as “West comma Texas, to distinguish it from the REGION of West Texas, from which it is rather far. The town of West, TX lies just north of Waco, another center of German heritage, which is unfortunately better known for the Branch Davidian debacle of the 1990’s. I didn’t have time to seriously discover Waco and my friend who lives near there was busy, anyway.
West, TX, however, may be well-covered in an hour or so. It is named, not for the idea of Texas being in the West, but after Thomas West, a rancher who was also the area’s first Postmaster. He promoted its growth, as a counterpoint to Waco and Fort Worth. Somehow, though he built a solid little town, its greatness is still a potential rather than a reality.
West, TX is a fine place to stop and enjoy awesome Central European staples, such as feisty sausages, beer bread and kolaches (fruit or nut filled buns). I chose Czech Stop, a bakery attached to the Sunoco station. Actually, it was chosen for me, as everyone else was closed, with it being Sunday. No matter, the place was packed, with people flying up over the hill and whipping into the parking lot, as if there were a fire sale going on.
I bought enough poppy seed kolaches, cheddar-jalapeno rolls, summer sausage and rye bread to keep me happy over the ensuing three days- making breakfast and supper at restaurants unnecessary. I had to save for purchasing beach wear, you see.
Here are some scenes from West, TX and from the delightful Oasis Inn, in Temple, TX, where I spent Sunday night. Below is West City Hall.
Czech-Mexican fusion is big here, as it is in Corpus Christi.
Other bakeries in town do stick to traditional central European fare.
Below, the gazebo honours Thomas West.
Another Czech butcher shop/bakery was closed, but looks interesting.
On the far West Side of West, I found this:
Now, since this was such a long, full and wonderful day, I found a marvelous little motel, right off I-35, in Temple.
It’s Oasis Inn.