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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Ghost Towns / Hill Country : Luckenbach

LUCKENBACH, TEXAS

It's not Fredericksburg Lite

Texas Ghost Town
Gillespie County, Texas Hill Country
6 miles East of Fredericksburg on CR 1376,
then South about 4.5 miles
(Fredericksburg is 80 miles West of Austin)

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Luchenbach post office
Luckenbach Post Office/store
TE Photo, 2000
Official signs are stolen, so don't look for any. When you get close, you'll see some for "Uptown Luckenbach," which we may address in the future. For now, we'll talk about the historic and legendary Luckenbach. The one that's beckoning down in the shady grove.

1999 was the town's Sesquicentennial Celebration and in 2000 they had their Second 150th Anniversary Celebration.

The house you'll pass on the way in is the Engle place. The sign showing a population of 3, is actually 2 now, due to a recent death in the Engle family.


History in a Pecan Shell

The Reverend August Engel established the Post Office in 1886. His sister Minnie (or Sophie depending on the source) was appointed Postmistress and in a romantic gesture put the name of her fiancée in the blank space for the requested name. That name was Albert Luckenbach.

Years later when Albert and wife moved to Martinsburg the post office there was renamed Albert, Texas.

The romantic naming of Luckenbach started a tradition of unconventionality that has become something of a lifestyle. We didn't say it was a romantic lifestyle, we said it was a unconventional lifestyle.

The biggest contributor to this lifestyle would be, beyond a doubt, Hondo Crouch. Crouch, champion swimmer, raconteur, and columnist for The Comfort News, liked the shallow water of Grape Creek so much he and a few others bought Luckenbach's 10 or so acres from the Engel family in 1970.

Mr. Crouch used Luckenbach and its tranquility as a tongue-in-cheek comparison to the nearby high-priced spread of LBJ's Stonewall Ranch. Meanwhile, the celebration of life at Luckenbach continued, with country music and with what the Germans have been known to call "liquid bread."

Unless you spent 1976-77 in a coma, then you heard the song that opened the floodgates. Ask someone. It was bitter irony that Mr. Crouch died shortly after the town became famous.

While other parts of Texas have Fire Ant, Chigger and Mosquito Festivals, Luckenbach celebrates Spring's arrival each year by holding a contest to see who witnesses the arrival of the first Mud Dauber Wasp. The choice of this non-aggressive and home-oriented insect reflects Luckenbach's philosophy.

Luckenbach's unpretentiousness is as genuine as the portrait of FDR that remains from when the building's primary function was Post Office/Store.

There's a bronze bust of Hondo Crouch in front of the store. Drop in when you're in the neighborhood.

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© John Troesser
cotton gin
The old cotton gin in Luckenbach
TE photo, 2000

Luckenbach Texas Forum

I just thought I would let you know in case you hadn't heard, the cotton gin in Luckenbach is no more. I was passing through a few weeks ago. The great floods in the Hill Country last year (including Grape Creek) swept the gin away. The lady working in the gift store told me that the water level during the flood rose as high as the countertop in the store. ... How unfortunate it is now gone. - Tom Rinard, August 26, 2003

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