Bandera is on State Highway 16 fifty miles northwest of San Antonio in east central Bandera County.
The history of the Bandera can be divided into two parts: Polish and non-Polish settlers. Both wrote the rich tapestry of history with hard work, faith and grit and both still claim community-building descendants 150 years later.
Thomas Odom, A.M. Milstead and P.D. Saner brought their families to the area in the spring of 1852 and camped along the Medina River where they engaged in turning cypress trees into roofing shingles.
John James and Charles de Montel arrived in 1853 to acquire land and lay out a town site. Their survey established Bandera as a town. They also built a horse-powered sawmill for cypress lumber.
Bandera's first Polish settlers arrived in Bandera in 1855, six weeks after the first Polish church was founded in Panna Maria, and organized St. Stanislaus parish, the second oldest Polish parish in the United States-with Panna Maria holding the distinction of being the oldest. The names of these Polish settlers continue to be represented in Bandera's present history and progress: Anderwald, Kindla, Mazurek, Dugosh, Kalka, Jureczki, Adamietz.
Most of the Polish settlers found employment with de Montel, James and John H. Herndon cutting cypress roofing shingles for sale in San Antonio. Some were skilled carpenters. Each family was given one town lot on which to build a home along with an option to purchase farmland near Bandera. John Adamietz served as a county commissioner and deputy sheriff. Albert Adamietz held the office of county treasurer. Kaspar Dugosh became Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace. Albert Haiduk survived an attack by Indians. Haiduk's wife-fearful that a light would attract another attack-cut the arrow out in the dark. Theodore Kindla, a 25-year-old shepherd, was killed by indians in the summer of 1862.
The presence of the United States Cavalry at Camp Verde after 1856 encouraged increased activity and settlement. Bandera served the needs of the military and of settlers who took up small holdings in the area. After the Civil War the town boomed as a staging area for cattle drives up the Great Western Trail. Farm boys became cowboys. Ranchers built holding pens and signed on as trail bosses. Storekeepers contracted as outfitters. Cotton was a commercial crop during this period. An ornate courthouse begun in 1890 announced prosperity from the town square. For local stockraisers, sheep and goats proved more profitable on the shallow limestone soil than cattle, but not until 1920 did the Bandera County Ranchers and Farmers Association organize cooperative storage and marketing of wool and mohair.
Excerpts from Stephanie Day, Bandera Chamber of Commerce
Excerpts from Peggy Tobin, Handbook of Texas Online