Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America
SPJST Lodge Hall
Buckholts, TX
SH 36
Erected 2009
SPJST Hall, Buckholts, Milam, TX
Rockdale Reporter,
July 23, 2009

It’s Czech, it means ‘southern
unity’ and it’s the official
name of the Buckholts SPJST
Lodge No. 15’s hall which
received the Texas Historical
Commission’s highest honor on
Sunday. Buckholts residents
E. J. and Joyce Provasek,
umbrellas shielding them
against the 105-degree heat,
were two of about 150 persons
attending the afternoon and
evening of activities which
featured unveiling of a THC
Recorded Texas Landmark marker.
For more photos, story and to see
what SPJST stands for, see Page 6C.
Buckholts, TX SPJST Hall
Doug Williams Sr., SPJST Lodge 15 president,
was master of ceremonies for marker dedication
ceremony Sunday at Buckholts

Buckholts SPJST gets top marker
Rockdale Reporter, July 23, 2009
Page 6C  photos by Mike Brown, Rockdale Reporter

Buckholts SPJST Lodge No. 15’s Hall has quite a history. The current hall, the third,
was built in 1936 after thieves burned down the previous one in an attempt to distract
the population of Buckholts while they attempted to rob the bank.

For the past 73 years the distinctive octagonal-shape building has been a Milam County
landmark and a site for dances, political meetings, barbecues, receptions and many forms
of entertainment. On Sunday about 150 persons, including many longtime members,
dedicated a Texas Historical Commission Recorded Landmark marker. 

That’s the highest THC award for a building. There are only nine in Milam County,
including the county courthouse which dedicated its marker on July Fourth.

Master of ceremonies Doug Williams Sr. presided over ceremonies which included the
playing of “Taps” by Trenton Glaser and an invocation by Rev. Gary Kleypas.  

Hal Senkel, mayor of Buckholts, welcomed the crowd. Speakers were Brian Vanicek, Supreme
SPJST Lodge president and Melanie Zavodny, editor of the Vestnik Herald.

Bobby Wuensche, SPJST District Two director, presented membership pins and an
appreciation award and delivered closing remarks.

Lodge 15 officers are: Williams, president; Derrick Ruzicka, vice-president; Dorothy
Tomascik, vice-president; Sandie Fischer, secretary-financial secretary.

Organizers expressed appreciation to the  Milam County Historical Commission, Jackie
Thornton, Dee Dee Green and Geri Burnett, and also to Steph McDougal and the
Preservation Society of Old Dance Halls.

SPJST stands for Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas (Slavonic Benevolent Order of
the State of Texas),  a fraternal society that promotes social activities and insurance
benefits for members.

Frank Tomascik (L) and
Frank Klinkovski
unveiled marker.
Tomascik was a carpenter
when the lodge hall was
constructed in 1936 and
remembers hauling in
lumber from the railroad
depot for 35 cents an
hour, a good wage at the
Photo: Mike Brown,
Rockdale Reporter
S.P.J.S.T. Hall - Buckholts, Texas THC Historical Marker
Buckholts SPJST Lodge Hall

In 1897, Central Texas Czechs orgained Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas (SPJST), a fraternal society that promoted social activities and insurance benefits for its members.  SPJST Members from Cameron, Marak and Buckholts established Lodge No. 15 in October 1907.  The official name of the Lodge was Svornost Jihu, which translates as "Southern Unity," though that name has been seldom used.  Josep Slovacek and other members drew plans and built the first meeing hall, dedicated on this site on July 4, 1911 but destroyed by a 1915 storm.  Temple Architect Josef Tudlacka designed the next building, which thieves set on fire in March 1936 to distact citizens while they attempted to rob the bank.

Head Carpenters Aley Horstman and Jeff Reeder built the present building in the summer of 1936.  The distinctive frame meeting and dance hall features an octagonal plan, hinged windows and central vent for air circulation, roof arches and hardwood floors.  The site also includes barbecue pits dug into the ground.

To nonmembers, the Buckholts SPJST Lodge Hall represents social functions. Dances, barbecues, receptions, fundraisers, commercial entertainment and social clubs continue to this day.  Live broadcasts by Taylor radio station KTAE in the 1950s made the hall and Buckholts known to a wide audience.  Noted country, polka and western swing musicians including Jimmy Heap, Johnny Horton, Webb Pierce, Bob Wills and Vrazels' Polka Band have played this venue.  The Vrazel family also managed the hall from 1957 to 1971.  As a fraternal lodge, social center and dance hall, the site has been a Central Texas Landmark for generations.

Recorded Texas Historical Landmark - 2008
marker is property of the State of Texas
Photos by Mike Brown, Rockdale Reporter