Agricultural & Ranching town on IH-10 halfway between Houston and San Antonio, founded by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1873; named for a pioneer merchant, F. W. Flato. Waves of immigrants – Bohemian, Czech, German, English and Italian – settled in and around Flatonia. The town most prominently celebrates colorful Czech/German traditions: for example calling their annual (October) czhili festival – CZHILISPIEL! The city is a very well known train watching spot, especially with the cross rails that run north and south and east and west.
- Czhilispiel: www.czhilispiel.com
- Wine Walk: https://www.flatoniachamber.com/events/2019/wonderful-winter-wine-walk
- Xmas in Flatonia: https://www.flatoniachamber.com/events/2019/christmas-in-flatonia
Points of Interest
E. A. ARNIM ARCHIVES AND MUSEUM – 101 E. North Main St. – Wealth of historical miscellany from town, includes antique furniture, household items, clothing, china, glassware, and historical documents. A livery stable with wagons, buggies, vintage tack, farm implements and more is in the back. A newly added Veterans Museum on the 2nd floor is full of Flatonia area veterans photos, stories & military artifacts. Open: Thursday & Friday – 1pm to 4pm / Saturdays – 10am to 12 noon and 1pm to 3pm. Ph. 361-865-3455.
FLATONIA RAIL PARK – The downtown park encompasses a historic railroad switching tower, the third one built by the Texas Railroad Commission and in operation until 1997, a Caboose under restoration and the old Flatonia City Jail (AKA the Calaboose) built in the 1890’s. The interiors of the Tower and Caboose can be seen by appointment through the Central Texas Rail History Center. There is also a Photo Pavilion west of town for viewing and photographing trains as they pass through.
CENTRAL TEXAS RAIL HISTORY CENTER – The Rail Center, on South Main Street, across from the Park, houses pictorial history as well as artifacts of rail activity in Flatonia and Central Texas. Enjoy an afternoon reviewing the large collection of rail-related books, model trains and layouts. Hours of operation – Friday 1pm to 3pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm or by appointment by calling 713-471-8068.
ST MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH – PRAHA (Painted Church) Built in 1895. To Praha from Flatonia: Take US 90 2.7 miles east to FM 1295, then South 8/10ths of a mile to Praha and the Church. St. Mary’s always holds their annual feast on August 15th. Open from dawn to dusk. The picnic is also known as “Prazka Pout”, which means “homecoming”! Praha also hosts a Memorial Service on the Sunday before Veterans Day each year in remembrance of our Nation’s Fallen Soldiers.
The History of Flatonia, Texas
Flatonia is conveniently located halfway between Houston & San Antonio on Interstate 10 and between Austin and Victoria on State Hwy 95. We are close enough to quickly get to the “big cities” if we want to but far enough away that many of their problems do not plague us.
Flatonia was originally situated one mile southeast of the present site. The land where Flatonia now sits was originally the old Faires headright which was obtained from Mexico as a portion of S.F. Austin’s original Texas colony. The land where the town is now was purchased from the Faires brothers by a syndicate composed of F.W. Flato, John Kline and John Lattimore.
When the Southern Pacific Railroad began to build its tracks from Houston to San Antonio, Flatonia wanted to get involved in this expansion. The syndicate composed of Flato, Kline and Lattimore gave T.W. Pierce, president of the Southern Pacific Railroad, a half interest in the land the railroad would have through what was to become the town of Flatonia. The railroad was completed in early 1872. The residents and business owners that lived and worked in old Flatonia loaded up their things and moved to the new location by the railroad tracks.
Flatonia was established in 1873, then became incorporated on November 10, 1875 with the first election being held on December 6, 1875.
The original settlers in the Flatonia area were mainly Anglo-Saxon. After the Civil War, many Czechs and Germans were attracted to the fertile land and came here to settle. Now you will find that most of the native inhabitants are of German or Czech descent.
When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railway decided to build south from Waco, the citizens of Flatonia began an effort to get the railway to come through Flatonia. They were successful in this venture. In 1888 the railroad came through the town thus making it the meeting place of the two main railway lines in Texas. This joining helped other communities to develop in the area such as Muldoon, Moulton, Shiner and Yoakum.
During the first half of the twentieth century, Flatonia’s economy was greatly impacted by the markets for cotton and cattle. In the 1960’s, many farms were converted to cattle ranching from cotton, thus making cotton a much smaller factor.
Flatonia continues to have many farms and ranches in its service area. However tourism has more of an impact on many of the small businesses downtown now as well as those businesses that are located on Interstate 10. Many of the tourist businesses moved away from Highway 90 and the railroad when Interstate 10 was built in the 1970’s.
The downtown area is now being revitalized and is growing again. The Chamber of Commerce has been working hard to bring more visitors to our downtown businesses. In order to do this, the Chamber of Commerce has instituted a Sweethearts Chocolate Walk in February, Spring Market Day in March, Crawfest in April, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta in May, 90 Miles on Hwy 90 Yard Sales in June and Christmas in Flatonia – Merry Market, Santa and a Wine Walk in December The town also hosts the annual Czhilispiel 3 day celebration, always held on the fourth full weekend in October. You can experience many Czhili & BBQ cook off teams & their samples, continuous live music, many arts & crafts vendors, carnival, tasty foods, cold beverages, adult & children activities, Grand Parade, car show and more, all downtown Flatonia.
Flatonia Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 610/208 E. North Main
Flatonia, TX 78941
The full list of Events in Flatonia
- January – Flatonia Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet; Flatonia FFA & 4-H Stock Show
- February – Flatonia Golf Association “FANDANGO” – Meal & Entertainment
- March – Flatonia CofC Spring Market Day with the Texas Independence Relay Exchange Zone; The Parade of Quilts
- April – Flatonia CofC CRAWFEST; Flatonia Rail Fan Pavilion Party
- May – Flatonia Cinco de Mayo Fiesta; Flatonia Rotary Club Golf Tournament; Flatonia American Legion Memorial Day Service
- June – Flatonia Sacred Heart Catholic Church Spring Picnic; 90 Miles on Hwy. 90 Garage Sales
- July – The Incredible Knockouts Relay for Life – Shrimp Boil – Flatonia
- August – St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Praha Picnic – Prazka Pout; Sts. Cyril & Methodist Catholic Church Picnic – Cistern
- September – Flatonia Educational Foundation – Dance
- October – CZHILISPIEL – Flatonia, TX
- November – E. A. Arnim Archives & Museum – Meal & Play; All Veterans Day Service at Praha; Flatonia Rail Fan Pavilion Party
- December – Flatonia CofC Wonderful Winter Wine Walk; Merry Arts & Craft Market Day with Santa; Light of Christmas Village