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PRIVILEGE CREEK AND BEYOND:  This series of photos was taken on the way to Polly's Chapel.  The show up just as they happen with the last creek crossing shown on the way back to the Bandera highway.
                               

DETOUR TO PRIVILEGE
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

You might as well know now.  On our road trips we stop at every historical marker and I take a picture which is seldom posted. 
Like a page out of a history book they help us get a educated
and offer a deeper insight into a piece of Texas.

We were coming up on Privilege Creek bridge when we spotted another one of the markers. This one wasn't on the roadside, but instead we were directed to travel down a county road for three miles.  No problem.  How long could this take?


I.jpg (1915 bytes)f you're a cowboy, a pretend cowboy or just want to lay eyes on the real thing, head for Bandera.  Least ways that's what I've heard so we headed their way.  Then up popped a "historical marker ahead" sign. Then, just before Privilege Creek bridge we saw another sign saying the sign was three miles up the road. 
       Following the narrow, curvy paved road we crossed the creek a couple of times stopping briefly so I could round up a few photos.  Then the road turned to dirt.  It seemed we had been driving for five miles or better and still no marker.
       I reckon the physicists are right about the expanding universe, I just didn't figure it applied to everything including dirt roads.   Finally we saw a couple of signs for Polly's Chapel and another for the Cemetery. Talk about relief!  Sure I saw "Polly" on the map in teeny-tiny type but when you get into dirt road country most maps are useless.  And this was no exception.
       Following the arrows we crossed the Privilege Creek again where the crossing was drowned in a few inches of water.  On the opposite side, Nigel the Land Rover climbed a very steep and rocky road (?). Just past that we came upon more signs with the cemetery sign pointing to the left and the chapel sign to the right and something or other straight ahead.         Turning right we found no improvement on the road surface.  Fact is, if you're planning to head this way you'd better make sure the underside of you're transportation is a couple of  feet off the ground otherwise you'll hit high center.  If you don't know what that means imagine a crack in your crank case or the sight of your muffler in the rear view mirror.
       Then, there it was.  Polly's Chapel sitting way out yonder all by its lonesome.  We hadn't seen a car or live body the whole way.   Kinda made me wonder what it was doing here and who, exactly, was Polly and how did she get a chapel named after her?
       My questions were answered to a fraction when I spotted the historical marker on the building.  Ponder this: Polly was named for Policarpo Rodrigues (1829-1914). He was a Texas Ranger, army scout and guide  who settled in Privilege Creek community in 1858.  He converted to the Methodist faith and built the chapel of native stone with his own hands in 1882 where he later preached.
stone.jpg (18524 bytes)       I've been baptized in the Catholic, Methodist and twice in the Baptist church -- all before the age of 17 -- and I've heard my fair share of stories about personal devotion to the faith.  But building a church by hand in the middle of nowhere all alone tops the list. 
       Since the place was unlocked I took a look inside and a few pictures.  The sunlight poured through huge arched windows creating one of those clean well lighted places I am so fond of visiting. Then back out front I recorded a few more pictures.  I was stunned.  The place was simply elegant. Clearly Policarpo's talents matched his devotion.
       Back in the late 1800s the community of Polly had a general store, post office, school and over 300 residents.  Policarpo lived to see the decline of his community when the post office was closed in 1912.  TurnA.jpg (4971 bytes)The consolidation of the school in 1942 with the Bandera ISD sealed the fate of Polly as consolidation did to virtually all of the rural communities in the state.  Next stop: Bandera, Texas, the Cowboy Capital of the World.  I promise.

      PAGE 1: ON THE ROAD, FINALLY /   PAGE 2: MEDINA LAKE
PAGE 3:
DETOUR TO PRIVILEGE  PAGE 4: BANDERA
PAGE 5: LOST MAPLES & BEYOND  /  THE MAP

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