School, Lavaca County, 1925
Photo Courtesy Friench Simpson Memorial Library
in a Pecan Shell
Originally settled by Anglo settlers in the 1850s, Czech immigrants
started appearing in the early 1870s. The immigrants were from NE
Moravia and brought their culture and distinctive Czech dialect.
A store was moved to the crossroads in 1881, giving birth to the community.
Soon there was a blacksmith and a cotton gin. The town had its own
post office in operation from 1882 to 1900.
Classes, which were first conducted in private homes, were taught
in the Moravian dialect when the first one-room school was built.
The school burned in 1878 and was replaced by another building. A
newer structure appeared in 1923, although the Moravia
school was eventually consolidated with the Hallettsville
The population was a mere 40 in 1933. It was reported as165 from 1968
through 1990, but the church census states that in 1983 it was closer
In 1983 the Ascension of Our Lord
Catholic Church (c. 1912) was placed on the National Register
of Historic Places.
– When Texas Was Young By M.R. Vivial
Lavaca County Tribune – August 26, 1946
Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church
National Register Property
Photo courtesy Barclay
Site of Moravia
Many Czech and
German immigrants settled in this area of South Texas in the 1870s.
Moravia was a Czech farming community that included homes, a Catholic
church, businesses, and a school.
The first school in the Moravia community was a one-room structure
located about one mile northwest of this site. Students attended classes
on a tuition basis. The one-room schoolhouse was destroyed by fire
in 1878, and students temporarily attended school in a former store
building (about 1 mile north).
Land at this site was acquired in 1885. Moravia School, a two-story
schoolhouse with two classrooms, was erected in 1887. Classes were
conducted primarily in the Czech language until 1895.
Additional land acquisitions in 1908 and 1922 enlarged the school
property, and in 1923 materials from the 1887 structure were used
in the construction of a larger school facility with four classrooms.
Serving students from a large rural area, the Moravia School continued
to grow as other rural schools declined. Students participated in
scholastic, literary, and athletic activities. The Moravia School
was closed following the 1971-72 school year and was consolidated
with the Hallettsville
Ignac (J. E.) Jalufka
and Jakob Hollub brought their families to northern Lavaca County
in 1874, followed by several other Czech families. Founded in 1881,
Moravia was so named to honor Moravia, Czechoslovakia, the settlers'
homeland. The first commercial structures here were a blacksmith shop,
cotton gin, and school.
In 1889 Jalufka built a two-story frame saloon on this site. Grocery
and mercantile supplies took up the rear half of the ground floor;
the saloon was located in the front. The second floor served as a
dance hall. Masquerades, seasonal celebrations and other events made
it a popular gathering place for the entire community. From 1891 to
1900 Jalufka also was United States Postmaster for the area, operating
the post office from his store.
The saloon was popular and successful until 1920, the year that J.
E. Jalufka died and prohibition was passed into law. Agnes Jalufka
inherited the business, and sold it to Annie Chromcak and Lillian
Blahuta in 1922. Annie Chromcak sold her interest to Lillian and Frank
Blahuta the following year. In 1930, a new dance hall was erected
across the road. The second story was torn down, leaving the one-story
Moravia General Store. The new dance hall across the road was torn
down in 1950. The Moravia store remained in the Blahuta family until
1979. In 1990 the store was closed for the first time in 109 years,
but it was reopened in 1996. The Moravia General Store remains a link
to the past and to the spirit of the pioneers of Lavaca County.
|1907 Lavaca County
Postal map showing Moravia
(Above "V" in "LAVACA". Near Lavaca/Fayette
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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