German immigration to Texas in significant numbers began in the middle of the 19th century. They brought architecture, art, smoked meat, and even a language. They also founded many German towns in Texas along the route.
Today, a few isolated areas in Texas still speak Texas German, but the number of speakers is slowly decreasing. The early settlers constructed hundreds of structures in certain German cities. People still call the central plaza the Marktplatz in German, and when they welcome guests, many proudly put up signs that say “Willkommen!”. Many continue the traditions in food, artwork, and museums devoted to the individuals who established the German communities.
These factors work together to produce intriguing Texan and German settings. The Texas German towns have their unique character because they kept alive the rich heritage, culture, and traditions of Germany in these communities.
The earliest German colony in Texas is Industry, founded in 1831 by German immigrant Friedrich Ernst.
Many more Germans opted to make the long trek and live in Texas after Ernst sent a letter to a friend back in Germany about living there.
They named the community Industry Texas due to the mentions and comments about the hardworking residents. German heritage and influence are still present in the society today. Edward Lindemann and Franz Getschmann opened the Lindemann Grocery Store on Ernst Parkway in 1884.
The most well-known of Texas’ German towns is probably Fredericksburg.
Fredericksburg, named after Prince Frederick of Prussia and established in 1846, has retained a solid German culture despite the influx of Texan and American influences. For over a century, people spoke German often, and the descendants of the early settlers made their kind of German called Texas German.
The Pioneer Museum, which spans 3.5 acres on Main Street, currently houses artifacts from the town’s German past. The old buildings on the property are full of artifacts that show why the Germans came to settle in this part of central Texas and how life was back then.
German culture has a lot of Americanized elements that are still very much present in Fredericksburg, especially when it comes to festivals and cuisine. The town’s Oktoberfest has been happening for over 40 years and is a big party that celebrates everything German, like dirndls, music, beer, and sausage. The Christmas pyramid that dominates the Marktplatz during Christmas is a clear example of German tradition.
The charming Texas hamlet of Boerne is about thirty minutes northwest of San Antonio. The locals say the town’s name is “Bernie.” They designed it in 1852 and named it after Karl Ludwig Borne.
Every second Saturday of the month, the Boerne Market Days, a tradition in this little town since 1850, draws hundreds of tourists. People hold them at Main Plaza, in the middle of the historic area.
Visitors may take in the old-town atmosphere When browsing the many different arts and crafts merchants and listening to live music.
The ideal approach to discovering Boerne’s beautiful architecture and historical structures is to walk the Hill Country Mile. People care for and renovate many buildings constructed in the 1800s along the Hill Country Mile. Nowadays, people use these places to showcase art, have meals, and operate stores.
The Kendall, a historic stagecoach stop back in 1859, is a great place to stop by or stay the night.
Visit The Dienger Trading Co., a beautifully updated building constructed in the 1880s. It was the Dienger family’s general store and home until the mid-1900s.
Museums in Boerne:
Visitors may look into the past of Boerne’s first settlers by visiting museums like the Kuhlmann-King House and the Herff Farm Homestead.
They built one of the earliest houses in Boerne, known as the Herff Farm Homestead. It stands on over sixty acres of land.
The Cibolo Nature Center, which supports ecological protection and operates the Cibolo Nature School for children, now manages the farm and surrounding property. The 1880s-era Kuhlmann-King House is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. The ancient separate kitchen and rooms on the ground floor are available for visitors to explore.
Schulenburg, located midway between Houston and San Antonio, has a solid German, Czech, and Austrian background.
The Texas Polka Museum highlights the state’s musical heritage and significance.
The churches in the area of Schulenburg are beautiful. Many people consider St. Mary’s Church in High Hill one of the state’s most beautiful churches. You can find it at 2833 Farm to Market Road 2672, just a short drive from Schulenburg.
At the Painted Churches in the Schulenburg region (Ammannsville, Dubina, High Hill, and Praha villages), where German and Czech immigrants imitated old-world elegance, craftsmanship is on the whole show.
Muenster, a delightful German village in Texas, sits on the state’s northern border. Founded in 1889, it retains the charm of a small town.
You’ll like the half-timbered homes on Main Street and the clock tower with a glockenspiel at Fischer’s Market.
Muenster’s murals provide the impression of a traditional German hamlet. With Germanfest in the spring and Oktoberfest in the fall, Muenster celebrates its German heritage not just once but twice a year.
You can find a small town called Bulverde in Comal County, about a 30-minute north of San Antonio.
While Fredericksburg and Brenham are more famous, Bulverde also has a rich German history.
Piepers Settlement was the town’s original name, given by German immigrants who created it in honor of the German explorer Anton Pieper.
Bellville, whose history dates back to 1822, takes great pride in its Texan and German ancestry.
You’ll enjoy discovering the town’s old residences and architecturally diverse structures. Visit the museum within the Austin County Jail.
FM 2754, close to Bellville, you’ll discover the Germania Cemetery. You can also see bluebonnet fields along this route during the flowering period in late February to early April.
Despite being a contemporary design, Newman’s Castle is fun. Without leaving Texas, it’s simple to picture the ancient world with a mote, drawbridge, and portcullis.
The Fruehling Saengerfest in Bellville celebrates German cuisine, entertainment, and music.
Weimar is another Texas town made by German immigrants, and it’s named after the German city of Weimar. You can sense the German influence in the town’s name and architecture when you visit. The Oktoberfest in Weimar is a fantastic celebration of everything German, including clothing, cuisine, and dancing. Visit the Heritage Society Museum to learn about Weimar’s past.
The poppy seed grinder used to prepare delectable German kolaches is one example of an artifact that sheds light on the life of the locals.
You’re not alone if “Luckenbach, Texas” brings up memories for you. The 1977 song “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” by Waylon Jennings made this Texas German town well-known.
Even though Luckenbach is relatively small and only has a few people, it has a rich history and heart.
They named it after Jacob Luckenbach, one of the earliest German pioneers in Texas. It’s just 10 miles away from downtown Fredericksburg.
You will like going to the Luckenbach General Store, Dance Hall, and Live Music Venue today since “everybody’s somebody” there.
Although the Gruene Historic District technically belongs to New Braunfels today, it was formerly a separate municipality.
In actuality, Gruene (pronounced “green”) is such a fantastic location that it merits listing on this list of German Towns in Texas.
The Gruene family moved to Gruene in the mid-1800s and designed the town’s architecture. The restaurants are excellent, and the antique stores have some nice finds.
Gruene Venue, Texas’s oldest dance venue, is a must-see.
For information on upcoming events at Gruene Hall, see the official website. There is live music practically every night of the year and tons of free midday activities.
Final Words on Texas German Towns
As you can see, Texas has several wonderful German communities that still honor their heritage and way of life. You’ll enjoy learning about history and beer in these lovely places. So stop preparing and enjoy yourself.