Comal River became famous when Ripley's Believe It or Not featured
it as the shortest river in the world. The 2.5-mile river rises from
Comal Springs in Landa Park
where it fuels a swimming pool, past Schlitterbahn, and meets the
River in the heart of downtown New
Braunfels. The Comal is more popular with tubers and swimmers,
while the Guadalupe is more choppy and rapid and is favored by canoeists.
The Comal is one of the largest springs in Texas with 8 million gallons
of water flowing through every hour. The water is pure, clear and
cold, about 23-29 Celsius.
explorers 'discovered' Comal Springs in 1691 and found many Indian
tribes living there, who referred to it as Conaqueyadesta meaning
'where the river has its source'. In an excerpt from his diary,
Espinosa, who accompanied Domingo Ramon's expedition in 1716, described
it this way: "Groves of inexpressible beauty are found in this vicinity.
The waters of the Guadalupe are clear, crystal and so abundant that
it seemed almost incredible to us that its source arose so near.
It makes a delightful grove for recreation." Comal is the Spanish
word for basin, which somewhat describes the local geography. The
springs were later visited in 1764 by French explorer St. Denis,
and eventually became a stop on the El Camino Real.
When German immigrants arrived, they called Comal Springs Las Fontanas
and purchased the 1,300 acres around it for $1,111. By 1860, they
had installed several mills, wool and cotton factories, a paper
mill, an ice plant and a brewery along the springs. They also harnessed
the water for their public water supply and electrical power.
From 1896 until the Depression, the park was a private recreational
area owned by Harry Landa. The City of New
Braunfels then bought the springs in 1946 and turned it into
a municipal park.
Continue next page - Landa
and photos courtesy of Chandra Moira Beal and La Luna Publishing
Copyright Chandra Moira Beal
The Meaning of "comal"
First of all, thank you for your service! It has been very helpful.
I would like to note that "comal" does not mean basin in Spanish.
For starters, it is an indigenous word in origin accepted into the
Spanish language because of its popular use. "Comal" is a slightly
curved pan made of clay or metal on which tortillas are cooked and
coffee/cocoa beans are toasted. The Spanish word for basin is "Cuenca".
- Maritza Price, March 03, 2008
New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce
Post Office Box 311417
New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1417
(830) 625-2385 or (800) 572-2626