St. Joseph's Catholic Church
Marker Text: The Rev. Felix Orzechowski, who came to Texas in 1866 to answer an appeal for Polish missionaries, organized St. Joseph's Parish in 1869. The first Catholic church in Walker County, it served the many Polish families who settled this area in the 1870s. Church tradition often sustained the immigrants until they adjusted to life in a new country. Services were held outdoors or in private homes during Father Orzechowski's pastorate. Soon after leaving this parish in 1876, he returned to Poland and was imprisoned by ruling Russian officials for advocating democratic ideals.
A frame church building was erected in 1877 under the direction of the Rev. Victor Justiana Linicki, who was a Polish baron before he became a priest. A larger edifice, designed by Tom Lavandoski, was built in 1897, and the original structure was used as a school. The present church was begun in 1905 and dedicated on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1908, during the pastorate of the Rev. Thomas Aloysius Bily (1859-1921). The stately Gothic-style structure, designed by L.S. Green, reflects the European heritage of the parishioners.
The parish school was operated until 1951. St. Joseph's Catholic Church continues to minister to descendants of New Waverly's historic Polish community. (1975)
Marker No: 8472
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Location: 101 Elmore Street, New Waverly