This town is noted in the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest permanent Polish settlement in America. Established in 1854 by Polish Catholics, immigrants named the town Panna Maria, meaning Virgin Mary. The community established the first Polish school in the United States, and other villages like Cestohowa, Pawelekville and Kosciusko sprang from this settlement.
The Panna Maria Historical Society is housed in the 1875 Pilarczyk Store. Souvenirs, information and guided tours are available. The Convent Inn was used by nuns teaching in the elementary school in the early 1950s. www.pannamariatexas.com.
The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is topped by a cross carried from Poland by the original colonists. The old painted ceiling has been restored. Open daily. Southeast of San Antonio, just off Texas 123 between Stockdale and Karnes City.