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2013-02-07

Criminal mischief reported at Polly's Chapel

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Miscreants recently made mischief with a newly restored window at a local church.
On Monday, Jan. 28, Bandera County Sheriff's Office Deputy Michael Dyall was dispatched at approximately 11 am to Polly's Chapel after receiving a report that someone had broken four windowpanes and a window frame at the historic building.
At the scene, Dyall interviewed Bobby Reeves, who is in charge of the restoration work on the windows. According to Reeves, he noticed the damage on the northeast window of the chapel shortly after arriving for work at 8:30 am that morning. He estimated the damage at $400. Reeves told Dyall that he had left the construction site Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2 pm.
Dyall confirmed the damage, noting that the window appeared to have been kicked out. He then forwarded the case to Investigator Robert Vela of the BCSO Criminal Investigation Division.
Because there are no suspects in the criminal mischief at this time and no witnesses to the offense, the case will be placed on inactive status pending any new evidence or information.
The current facelift on Bandera County's beloved Polly's Chapel began during summer 2012. Earlier, members of the Polly Texas Pioneer Association, along with representatives from the Bandera County Chamber of Commerce, kicked off fundraising efforts to restore the 1880s building.
At that time, almost half of the $50,000 goal had been met with the funds earmarked for the replacement of timeworn windows and doors and ceiling, according to Rudy Rodriguez, association vice chairman. Reeves was selected to oversee restoration efforts. Describing his vocation as "generational," the Pipe Creek resident has served as a long time wood handcrafter of wood in the county.
At that time, Reeves explained that he had based his designs on the original examples. "We wanted to capture the simple and elegant features of the original windows and doors," he said. Reeves had submitted his renderings to the Polly Texas Pioneer Association's architectural committee for approval.
"We want to purchase all materials for the restoration at one time so there will be no mixing and matching of woods," Reeves said. "When completed, the windows and doors will be constructed of white oak. Now they're a mixed bag of repairs."
First items slated for restoration are two windows, which "fits in with the fundraising efforts," Reeves said.
Additionally, proposed grounds landscaping will include a small prayer garden.
"Restoring and preserving the legacy of Jose Policarpio "Polly" Rodriguez will help all the history of Bandera County," Rudy Rodriguez said at the time. He referred not only to the chapel, but also to future projects that will include preservation of ruins; and restoration of a two-story limestone fort, a general store and a former one-room school, built in 1892 and located about two miles from the chapel, as well as continued maintenance of a nearby cemetery. "These historical buildings and areas serve as Polly's Texas footprints," Rodriguez said.
Eventually, volunteers with the Polly Texas Pioneer Association will provide on-site and outreach educational programs about this area's early pioneers and settlers.
One of Bandera and San Antonio's earliest settlers, Policarpio Rodriguez began constructing the simple chapel in 1879. According to historical accounts, Rodriguez situated the building adjacent to the community crossroads on a small rise to take advantage of cooling southwestern breezes. It is located approximately 8.5 miles northeast of Bandera,
The lovely one-story chapel only measures 23-feet by 43-feet, but can seat 100 worshipers. In 1986, Polly's Chapel was registered the Texas Historical Commission in 1986 and became an official Texas Historical Landmark.
A successful rancher, Texas Ranger and justice of the peace, "Polly" Rodriguez also established a small township along the banks of Privilege and Bear creeks. About 30 families lived in Polly, Texas, which included a post office, school and general store.
For more information on the restoration project of Polly's Chapel, visit pollytexaspioneerassociation.org.
Anyone with information on the criminal mischief incident is asked to call Vela at 830-796-4324.

Pictured: This is evidence in a case of criminal mischief involving $400 damage to a window at Polly's Chapel, which was built by Jose Policarpio "Polly" Rodriguez in the 1880s.

The bottom four panes were broken out of this newly restored window at historic Polly's Chapel.