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Silesian Parishes: Holy Trinity / Falls City

Falls City


Panna Maria’s population declined in the 1880s, when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad bypassed the town. By contrast, Falls City, in northern Karnes County, owed its growth and development to the same railroad. Two communities founded earlier in the same general vicinity, Marcelina and Home Valley, had not attracted much settlement. Yet, people began to move to the area when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway built the Brackenridge depot in 1886, and a post office (Skiles) opened a mile west of the depot the next year. Soon, settlements along the path of the rail line prospered. One of these was Karnes City, which became the county seat. On November 28, 1893, the post office was also moved closer to the tracks, and then consolidated with Brackenridge as the renamed Falls City, named for the nearby waterfalls. By 1895, Falls City had a general store, the post office, two saloons, and numerous other thriving businesses. Many Silesians who lived in Panna Maria, to the southeast, or Cestochowa, to the east, subsequently moved just a few miles west, to reap the economic benefits of having the railroad closer at hand. Once Falls City became a something of a Silesian enclave, the residents established their own church. The Poles founded the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in 1902. They opened a parish school in 1911 (a new school opened twenty years later). In 1924, the Knights of Columbus built their Columbian Hall. The discovery of oil helped the town to grow even as the railroad traffic declined, and Falls City was incorporated on September 28, 1946. In 1958, a discovery near Tordilla Hill, ten miles west of Falls City, brought the new uranium mining and milling industry. In the mid-1970s, however, the uranium mines became controversial. Businesses wanted the mines to remain in operation, but farmers did not, claiming that they contaminated the land and water. The conflict continued in the 1990s, but by 1993, the uranium industry, except for a multimillion-dollar reclamation project facilitated by federal authorities, was all but spent. The population of the one-time boomtown fell to below 1000, where it has remained. 

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Then and Now

Opportunities for photo scanning sessions and oral histories sharing will be posted in this area.