KOLACHES AND CULTURE
A century after Czech immigrants came to Caldwell, their descendants worried that Czech language, music, and customs were disappearing. Their answer was to create the Kolache Festival, a showcase of Czech heritage named for the irresistible pastries filled with fruit, meat or cheese. About 20,000 visitors join the celebration each September to enjoy toe-tapping polka music and satisfy cravings for doughy sweets.
Caldwell has long been a stopping point for travelers. Founded in 1840, the Burleson County seat was laid out parallel to the Old San Antonio Road, a major artery into Texas. Modern Caldwell sits at the intersection of State highways 21 and 36, where a vestige of the storied road and a new Arts Trail meet.
For history buffs, the Burleson County Czech Heritage Museum in a restored 1863 residence displays a large dulcimer, quilts, clothing, farming tools, and kitchen equipment, including a cabbage slicer for making sauerkraut. The Burleson County Historical Museum, in the basement of the county courthouse, includes family histories, pioneer artifacts, and exhibits about Fort Tenoxtitlan, established by Mexico in 1830 to stop Anglo-American colonization. That effort failed, and the story of Caldwell’s social and economic development unfolds at the Visitors Civic Center Museum.