Kovar Hall an SPJST hall, otherwise called Rad Osveta Cislo 38, is located at 278 Zimmerhanzel Rd in Flatonia. Our dance hall road trip organizer, Erik, was told the hall had a wedding scheduled and we would be unable to get inside. The plan was to drive by and peek in the window. When we pulled up, there was a lone car in the parking lot.
Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas (SPJST) translates to Slavic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas. SPJST halls were created by Texas Czechs with the purpose of selling life insurance policies. They are numbered in the order they were formed. This hall is number 38. According to information Erik provided the tour, the hall dates back to 1926. It merged with the Smithville SPJST in 1944.
Information I found on line said Kovar Hall was “once among the largest dance halls in Texas.” The hall is 72 feet by 100 feet and was the largest dance hall in Texas when it was built.
I am privileged to have some of Stephen Dean’s notes. He quoted Roger Kolar’s “Early Czech Dance Halls in Texas”: This has a hipped roof capped with a very large louvered cupola. This building incorporates glazed windows in the entrance facade, while barn door shutters were used in the sides.”
Information from an August 2019 Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative article: Electricity was added to the hall in the mid 40’s when the two lodges combines. Fans were the first thing added. Some old box fans in the back may be 50 years old. A commercial refrigerator and stove were added. Bathrooms replaced the outhouses. Public dances ended around 1996, but the venue is still popular on weekends through July for weddings or quinceaneras.
The floor was nice and big. It seems to be a great venue for weddings. They allow you to pick up the key on Thursday, decorate on Friday, hold your event Saturday, then come back and clean up on Sunday. We happened to be there between the event and the clean up.