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History of the Rose Garden in Houston

Lately, people have been asking about the history of the “Rose Garden” (2621 Link Road) in the Heights so the following is what I know to be true. First of all, the Rose Garden wasn’t always “Rose Garden”. To start at the beginning, we have to go back about eighty years or so. That’s when my grandparents, Wallace and Rosie Mozdenski, moved from Chappell Hill to the Houston Heights. The year was 1936 and they bought a house on Aurora Street just off of North Main.
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Polish documentary film Empty NightsA Polish documentary film titled “Puste Nucs” or “Empty Nights” tells the story of an ancient rite, which supports the mourners in the difficult moments of the first days after the death of a loved one. This Empty Night rite is still in use in some parts of Poland.

45 minute long Polish language film with English sub-titles.

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The first Polish Home at 2706 White Oak Drive, shortly after opening in 1918Polish Home of Houston
103 Cooper Road
Houston, Texas
Status: Closed

Article originally published in Polish American Journal
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St. Stanislaus Catholic Church In Bandera TexasAfter Napoleon freed a part of Poland in 1817, problems arose for the Polish people. An agreement was made at the Congress of Vienna in Austria. Austria took the Polish Saxony region and Russia took most of Poland. The Russian Czar, “Alexander,” formed the kingdom of Poland, giving it a constitution, an army, and a Polish administration. The Polish people did not like all the restrictions. They remembered the time when they, not the Russians, ruled Eastern Europe.
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Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Hedwig TexasDriving through the state of Texas, it is not uncommon to see many small towns decorating the countryside. Many of them are farming communities established in the mid-19th century that have not grown much since. One such place is the town of St. Hedwig. With a population of 1,443, St. Hedwig has stood in east Bexar County since 1855.
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St. Joseph Catholic Church in Stoneham TexasSt. Joseph Catholic Church was established in 1909 by a group of Polish-speaking immigrants from the Grimes Prairie, Stoneham and Plantersville areas. For many years, Stoneham’s Polish community worshiped either with the Polish community of St. Stanislaus in Anderson or with the Ukrainian-German community of St. Mary in Plantersville. In 1909, because of historical rivalries and antagonism rooted in the Old World and the arrival of a new pastor at St. Mary, the Polish community in the Stoneham area separated itself from the Plantersville community, joining itself with the Polish community of Anderson as a mission, and built its own sanctuary in the present location, under the spiritual leadership and jurisdiction of the Polish-speaking pastor of St. Stanislaus in Anderson. This arrangement would last until 1967 when jurisdiction would be transferred to St. Mary in Plantersville with St. Joseph as its Mission. This is the present status, uniting the communities of St. Mary and St. Joseph. Read the full article →

The parish of St. Michael’s in San Antonio was established on 8 November 1866 when Father Vincent Barzynski, a Resurrectionist priest, arrived from Rome. It was the third Polish Catholic church in Texas and the United States (after Panna Maria and St. Hedwig). It was also the third Catholic church in San Antonio-the first being San Fernando and the second being St. Mary’s.

Since the first Polish colony to arrive in San Antonio came within the octave of St. Michael’s feast day, it was decided that St. Michael would be the patron saint of the immigrants. And so it was appropriate that the Polish church in the city be named for their patron saint.

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Panna Maria, the first Polish Settlement in AmericaMany know that the largest settling of Poles outside of Poland is in Chicago, Illinois. What few know is that the first Polish settlement in America was in Texas, south of San Antonio, in a place called Panna Maria.

There were Poles in Texas before Panna Maria. There were Poles in the failed French colony of Champ D’Asile, near present day Liberty, Texas. Polish veterans of the failed revolt of 1831, joined the Texan army during the Texas Revolution. Several Poles fought under Fannin at Goliad in 1836, suffering execution by the Mexicans, along with most of the rest of Texans who had surrendered. A survivor mentions the Texas artillery was commanded by “tall fine-looking Poles”. There were Poles in Sam Houston’s Army that defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, winning independence for Texas. Frederick Lemsky, was one of the musicians who played “Come to the Bower” as the Texas Army charged the Mexicans at San Jacinto. Felix Wardzinski, was present at the capture of General Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator. But these individuals, like those elsewhere in America were acting alone.

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