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COMAL RIVER

The World's Shortest River
New Braunfels, Texas

Excerpts From -
Splash Across Texas
THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO SWIMMING IN CENTRAL TEXAS

by Chandra Moira Beal

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COMAL RIVER CONTENTS:

  • Comal River
  • Landa Park
  • Hinman Island Park
  • Prince Solms Park
  • Camp Warnecke, Cypress Bend Park
  • The 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 Guadalupe 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.
    Comal Spring Texas
    Comal Springs

    Spanish 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.
    Landa Park
    > next page

    Text and photos courtesy of Chandra Moira Beal and La Luna Publishing
    Copyright Chandra Moira Beal, 1999

    Related Subjects:
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    Comal River Forum
  • Subject: 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

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    Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce
    Post Office Box 311417
    New Braunfels, Texas 78131-1417
    (830) 625-2385 or (800) 572-2626
    http://www.nbcham.org
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