Texas Neighbors Spring 2017 : Page 14

TEXAS NEIGHBORS | SPRING 2017 OUR TOWN TEXAS Czech it out! West, Texas known for kolaches, heritage The railroad brought new life to the area, and the rural community began to flourish as Czech settlers moved there to farm and for a fresh start. The town has remained true to its Czech heritage and become famous because of it. Four kolache shops—Gerik’s Ole Czech Bakery & Deli, the Czech Stop, Village Bak-ery and Slovacek’s—have helped put the sleepy community on the map. Tourists flock to the town for the mouth-watering, homemade kolaches throughout the year. But a tragedy struck in 2013, throwing the town into the national spotlight for a differ-ent reason. By Landee Kieschnick and Kelly Bogard Drive down I-35 and you’re sure to catch the sweet smell of kolache dough. Because right off the busy interstate sits the rural Texas town of West, nestled be-tween Austin and Dallas and known for some of the best treats in the state. It’s a rural farming community founded in the 1840s that first became known as Bold Springs because it was centered around a fresh water spring. It wasn’t until 1881 that the Katy railroad was laid between Hillsboro and Waco, cutting a path through the land owned by Thomas West, a farmer and postmaster for the town once known as Bold Springs. First responders were called to a small fire burning at a fertilizer plant just a few miles from the heart of town on April 17, 2013. Without warning, the plant exploded, de-stroying 30 percent of homes in the town, along with parks, schools and a nearby nursing home. Fifteen people were killed that day. And a community was left to pick up the pieces. But the people of West came together and rebuilt their community. Standing strong amid the rubble. Like many rural towns, it can be easy to pass by on the interstate. But it’s worth a stop. The town and people have history. Re-silience. And a strong heritage that contin-ues to flourish. After the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion, the son of one of the firefighters killed wanted to rebuild the city park in honor of the fallen first responders. In 2016, Parker’s Park was completed. The bakeries have helped put West on the map. Tourists flock to the town for mouthwatering, world-famous kolaches throughout the year. WWW.TEXASFARMBUREAU.ORG

Czech it Out!

Landee Kieschnick and Kelly Bogard

West, Texas known for kolaches, heritage

Drive down I-35 and you’re sure to catch the sweet smell of kolache dough.

Because right off the busy interstate sits the rural Texas town of West, nestled between Austin and Dallas and known for some of the best treats in the state.

It’s a rural farming community founded in the 1840s that first became known as Bold Springs because it was centered around a fresh water spring.

It wasn’t until 1881 that the Katy railroad was laid between Hillsboro and Waco, cutting a path through the land owned by Thomas West, a farmer and postmaster for the town once known as Bold Springs.

The railroad brought new life to the area, and the rural community began to flourish as Czech settlers moved there to farm and for a fresh start.

The town has remained true to its Czech heritage and become famous because of it.

Four kolache shops—Gerik’s Ole Czech Bakery & Deli, the Czech Stop, Village Bakery and Slovacek’s—have helped put the sleepy community on the map.

Tourists flock to the town for the mouthwatering, homemade kolaches throughout the year.

But a tragedy struck in 2013, throwing the town into the national spotlight for a different reason.

First responders were called to a small fire burning at a fertilizer plant just a few miles from the heart of town on April 17, 2013.

Without warning, the plant exploded, destroying 30 percent of homes in the town, along with parks, schools and a nearby nursing home. Fifteen people were killed that day. And a community was left to pick up the pieces.

But the people of West came together and rebuilt their community. Standing strong amid the rubble.

Like many rural towns, it can be easy to pass by on the interstate. But it’s worth a stop. The town and people have history. Resilience. And a strong heritage that continues to flourish.

Read the full article at http://texasneighbors.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Czech+it+Out%21/2748630/396275/article.html.

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