Visit the Museum!
10:00 AM-4:00 PM
Seniors and Students
Tours of 20+ when arranged in advance
Make It A Day Trip!
1 hour 15 minutes • 64 miles
1 hour 30 minutes • 101 miles
From San Antonio
2 hours • 118 miles
About the Texas Quilt Museum
Why La Grange
La Grange is ideally located almost equidistant from Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, just off two major highways (IH-10 and US 290) that put it within easy driving distance of those and other major cities and airline hubs. Those cities, along with Dallas and Fort Worth, comprise five of the 20 largest cities in the U.S.
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the San Antonio International Airport, and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport offer numerous connections for international visitors who wish to visit the Museum. Our street address is 140 West Colorado, just off the courthouse square in La Grange’s historic district.
Lively La Grange and neighboring
towns offer plenty to see and do
Visitors to the Texas Quilt Museum are often enchanted by the small-town charms of La Grange, Texas (pop. 4,923) and the picturesque countryside that surrounds it. Just a few steps from the Museum, you can uncover fascinating stories about the region and the people who settled there.
History and Culture
La Grange has a long and rich history dating back to the 1820s, when the first colonists, led by Stephen F. Austin, Father of Texas, settled there. German and Czech settlers discovered the rolling hills that reminded them of their homeland, and their cultural influence remains imprinted on the town today.
For more information on Czech history, the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center at 250 W. Fairgrounds Road offers a library, museum, and genealogy research center with more than 10,000 Czech and English books.
Aside from the obvious influences in the architecture of the buildings in the town square, Czech immigrants also introduced a favorite food. No trip to the Texas Hill Country is complete until you’ve sampled the delicacy known as the kolache.
Originally created as a wedding dessert in Central Europe, this puff of pastry holds a healthy dollop of fruit or sweetened cream cheese filling at its center. The klobasnek (plural: klobasniky) is a related treat often mistakenly referred to as a kolache. Created by Czech settlers after they arrived in Texas, it resembles a “pig in a blanket” because it is filled with ham, cheese, sausage, bacon, eggs or jalapenos instead of fruit. This is a great “breakfast to go”!
The roots of the famous Weikel’s Bakery go back to 1929, when the Weikel family opened the Bon Ton Restaurant. When the restaurant was sold in 1985, the Weikels turned their attention to creating a convenience store and bakery specializing in kolaches that travelers (and Gourmet magazine) rave about. Don’t worry—you don’t have to try all the flavors right now. Weikel’s will ship these goodies anywhere in the country.
Around the Courthouse Square
The Fayette County Courthouse is the centerpiece of the La Grange town square, and is the fourth structure to house county business since 1838. The first building was a $250 house/grocery store that was moved to the public square and was used for 10 years.
The second courthouse was a two-story wooden structure with a bell that served until 1855. That year, it was replaced with a stone structure that stood for another 45 years. The existing three-story Romanesque Revival building was launched with the laying of the first cornerstone in 1890, and was finished in 1891.
Across the town square, you can find the famous Muster Oak. Located at the corner of N. Washington and W. Colorado Streets near the Fayette County Courthouse, the Muster Oak has been a gathering point for La Grange militia and other military members since the 1840s.
The first to muster under this tree were 36 Texans who signed up under Capt. Nicolas Mosby Dawson in September 1842 to fight against an invasion of Mexican soldiers near San Antonio. Since then, military personnel from six conflicts have also gathered under the Muster Oak before going off to war. The Muster Oak suffered some damage in a car accident, but has since been fortified with a concrete support.
Just behind the southwest corner of the Fayette County Courthouse Square, visitors can find the La Grange Chamber of Commerce on South Main Street, housed in the historic old Fayette County Jail.
Constructed in 1883 of native stones, its Victorian Gothic architecture resembles a European cathedral, and is surrounded by an iron fence. The jail was in active use until 1985, and housed some famous bandits, including two members of Bonnie and Clyde’s gang who had robbed the Carmine Bank. After renovation, the building reopened to the public in 1995, and now displays a small museum of law enforcement memorabilia.
The jail was also once the office site of the most famous sheriff of Fayette County, Jim Fluornoy, who served during the closure of the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel.
Scattered remains of the brothel buildings are on private property on the outskirts of La Grange today, so this is not a tourist destination, but merely a point of historical interest. The story of Miss Edna Milton and her girls continues through the musical, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” a film of the same name starring Burt Reynolds (as the fictional sheriff based on Fluornoy) and Dolly Parton, and the 1973 hit song, “La Grange,” by the Texas rock band, ZZ Top.
During the Great Depression, Miss Edna began accepting chickens as currency for “favors” —thus, the name. The Chicken Ranch conducted business in plain sight of local law enforcement (with whom the girls cooperated by providing crime tips) from 1905 until its closure in 1973.
Other sights around town
A 40-acre state park on a bluff overlooking La Grange at 414 State Loop 82, just off U.S. Highway 77 is the site of both Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery. The tomb at Monument Hill holds the remains of some of the Dawson Party, noted previously.
Here visitors will also find the ruins of one of Texas’ first commercial breweries, established by German immigrant Heinrich Kreische in 1860. By 1879, Kreische Brewery was the third-largest beer brewing operation in the state.
The N. W. Faison House and Museum, now on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at 822 South Jefferson Street. One of the oldest homes in Fayette County, it contains many of the original furnishings of the Faison family who occupied the residence for nearly 90 years.
In 1870, Nathaniel W. Faison, a military hero and benefactor of the emancipated African-American community, deeded the home to Louisiana Brown, making it one of the first residences in Texas to be owned by a freedwoman.
A restored 1897 railroad depot at South Washington and Lafayette Streets once housed waiting rooms and an office for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, which offered passenger service until the 1950s and carried freight into the 1970s. Today, it is the site of the La Grange Railroad Museum that includes the original potbelly stove, a stationmaster’s desk, a safe and historic photographs. (Open Saturdays only, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Beyond La Grange
Outside of La Grange, you’ll find plenty of events, museums and historic sites to pique your interest—all within an easy drive, so don’t hesitate to get out and explore surrounding communities like Warrenton and Round Top to the east and Schulenburg to the south.
In Fayetteville, just east of La Grange, citizens raised funds and built an extraordinary Victorian-style precinct courthouse in 1880. A ball held in the new building netted funds for painting the exterior.
The two-cell calaboose upstairs was completed in 1887, and a ladies' club donated the clock in 1934. In early Texas, precinct courthouses were very rare, and this one was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1977. For more information, visit the Fayette County History website.
The world’s smallest active Catholic church, St. Martin, is on Highway 237 in Warrenton just a few miles northeast of La Grange. Measuring 14 by 18 feet, the church holds 12 benches that can seat up to 20 people. A reproduction painting behind the altar depicts St. Martin of Tours.
The original painting by Johann Ignaz Berger, a prolific 19th century ecclesiastical painter of Czech origin, was removed in 2002 and reunited with six other paintings that were purchased by Czech immigrants in the late 1800s to hang in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Fayetteville. Six of the paintings had been stored and forgotten when St. John was demolished and rebuilt in 1960, but all have been recovered, restored and reframed for display.
Across Texas, there are 20 “painted churches” erected by Czech and German settlers who immigrated to the state in the mid-1800s seeking religious freedom and economic opportunities. While these historic churches look very ordinary on the outside, the elaborate and colorful painting that adorns the interiors sets them apart from most other houses of worship.
Four of the most interesting examples are in Fayette County: the Nativity of Mary, Blessed Virgin in Schulenburg; St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ammansville, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Dubina, and St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption in Praha. Guided tours are available through the Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce.
While you’re in Schulenburg, you might want to check out the Texas Polka Music Museum at 625 North Main. Dedicated to preserving the legacy of some of the state’s best polka bands and musicians, the museum features photos, costumes, instruments, historical information, and even sells CDs of great polka music.
There’s always something wonderful going on at the Round Top Festival Institute, including concerts, poetry readings, holiday galas, conferences, and classes. Historic homes and a school building, plus a 1,000-seat concert hall make up the 200-acre Festival Hill Campus, which includes three artists’ residences. The annual Round Top Summer Institute offers six weeks of training for young musicians who audition for a limited number of coveted spots. Check their calendar to plan your visit.
Each May, the Fayetteville Chamber Music Festival presents world-class musicians from Hungary and Poland, as well as New York City, Austin and Houston, in an up-close setting in the Moravian Room in Fayetteville’s historic Country Place Hotel. Classics by Brahms, Mozart, and Beethoven are performed on the piano, violin, and clarinet, along with pieces by Czech and Swedish composers.
In Winedale, you might need more than one day to enjoy everything this small community has to offer. The University of Texas maintains its Briscoe Center for American History here to foster a better understanding of Texas history by exhibiting examples of architecture and period furniture.
Several homes of early Texas and German architecture and other buildings from the 1800s have been moved to the Winedale Historical Center’s 225 acres. These include the Samuel K. Lewis house, Hazel’s Lone Oak Cottage, and two examples of Greek-revival farmhouses, the McGregor-Grimm House and the Lauderdale House.
Winedale annually hosts a Spring Festival, Weekend Farmers’ Seminar, Octoberfest, Eeyore’s Birthday Party, Gardener’s Seminar, a fabulous Christmas Open House, and a variety of craft shows. Also, for nearly four decades, students from the University of Texas Department of English have been coming to Winedale to read from and perform the works of Shakespeare in the Winedale Theatre Barn.
Spring or fall, antique hunting is a popular pastime in Fayette County at the Original Round Top Antiques Fair. Antique vendors converge upon Round Top and Warrenton to showcase a variety of vintage wares for buyers who come from all over the state. Here is where you will find all the treasures you would expect—from carnival glass to advertising signage to rosewood armoires—and then some.
For the gentlemen
If the gentlemen in your party are looking for more manly points of interest while you enjoy the Texas Quilt Museum, there are plenty of activities they might appreciate.
The Texas Basketball Museum in Carmine showcases a rich history of Texas high school basketball and stories of players who advanced through college to professional leagues. An autographed basketball used in 50,000 winning games is also on display. If you think you’re a good shot, you’ll have the chance to prove it on the court outside.
Fayette County Lake, the cooling pond of the Fayette Power Project, is popular among fishermen largely because of its largemouth bass, as well as red-ear sunfish. Channel, blue and flathead catfish have been stocked, and the record flathead for this reservoir weighed 79 pounds and was 50 inches long. The reservoir, with a maximum depth of 70 feet, is located 10 miles east of La Grange at 6549 Power Plant Road.
The Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum in Schulenburg is located at 311 Baumgarten Street near the Stanzel family home that was built in 1870. The Museum honors model aircraft pioneers. Victor and Joe Stanzel, and includes the main museum, a factory wing and tours of the historic home.
The Central Texas Rail History Museum at 104 South Main Street in Flatonia has very limited hours on Fridays and Saturdays, but tours can be arranged by appointment for anyone interested in railway history. The Museum includes a Southern Pacific Railroad caboose, manually operated switch tower, and a photo pavilion.
All of this sightseeing is bound to work up an appetite, but no matter where you are visiting in Fayette County, really good food is not far away. We suggest you try some of these extraordinary restaurants.
Bistro 108 at 108 South Main Street in La Grange offers lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, plus a selection of 50+ excellent wines. Salads, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, seafood, pasta and chicken-fried steak are always on the menu.
The Oakridge Smokehouse on Interstate 10 at Highway 77 in Schulenburg is a family-owned, country-style restaurant famous for American and German cuisine, a country breakfast buffet, and some delicious barbecue dinners, including beef, sausage, chicken, ham, pork ribs, and turkey. Kolaches, German sausage and sauerkraut are also available.
The motto at Royer’s 105 Main Street in Round Top, is “Eat Mo’ Pie!” and when you see the list of mouthwatering confections offered by owner Bud “the Pieman” Royer, you’ll understand why. Strawberry rhubarb, pecan, sugar-free peach, key lime, cherry, chocolate chip, blueberry, pumpkin, sweet-and-salty chocolate, and the fruit-filled junkberry pie are some of the highlights, but if you want to feed more than your sweet tooth, try the grilled shrimp BLT on a jalapeno sourdough bun. (P.S. Bud ships whole pies.)
Home cooking is the order of the day at JW’s Steakhouse, 122 Haupstrasse Street, one block south of Highway 290 in Carmine, Texas. Oh, yes, it’s a steakhouse, so you can expect to find the finest cuts of Texas Certified Angus beef on the menu: porterhouse, sirloin, ribeye, New York strip, plus surf and turf plates, chicken-fried steak, catfish, shrimp, and oysters.
We’re sure this guide to the area has demonstrated that there’s more to the Texas Hill Country—culturally, historically, and socially—than just a handful of sleepy little villages. We hope you make the most of your visit!
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