Mason County, Texas
Including the suburbs of East Art and West Art
26 miles West of Llano
7.5 miles East of Mason
Population: Dispersed. Est.18 (2000)
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is included in the most heavily populated German part of the Hill
Country, with the city of Mason
being the northern most town of any real population. Mason, Gillespie,
Kendall and Comal
Counties comprise almost the entire German settlement area, with just
a trace of overflow into Blanco,
Kerr, and Llano
Art is found on detailed maps of Mason County just East of Mason
(town). It will appear surrounded by five little crosses - a cluster
of family cemeteries.
Art along with Hilda, Loyal
Valley and Doss still have a number
of beautiful utilitarian limestone buildings. The Germans settling
this area were German Methodists, not Catholic or Lutheran Germans.
by Mike Cox
... Until shortly after World
War One, Art’s name was Plehweville, a handle that sounds
something like a sneeze, followed by “ville.”... Turns out that one
person who could pronounce the name Plehweville was Otto Plehwe. In
1886, he had purchased from J.A. Hoerster a one-year-old general store
near the hill top Methodist Church. The area had been settled by German
families in 1856 and they soon built a log church. By 1875, they had
raised a stone church which also served as a school. (And 15 years
later, they would build the church that still stands today.)
Plehwe thought the area needed a post office as well as a store and
the government agreed. Postal officials even went with Plehwe’s suggested
name, one the new post master thought had a nice ring to it: Plehweville.
Unfortunately, letters to Plehweville, not an easy name to pronounce,
spell or remember, often got lost. Many residents were not content
with the name and neither was the government. Phooey with Plehweville
By 1920, Eli Dechart had taken over as store owner and post master
of Plehweville. Like Plehwe, he envisioned a community named in his
honor. But unlike Plehwe, Dechart had a more practical idea. He recommended
the new name for the post office of Plehweville, Texas be Art, Texas
– Art being the last three letters of Dechart. And so by government
fiat, Plehweville was transformed into Art.
No matter its name, Art never flourished. In 2000, census enumerators
counted 18 residents. You would think that being only seven miles
from Mason the Art post office
would have long since been discontinued by the Postal Service, but
not so. It’s still there at 7866 E. Highway 29, 76820-9817. more
|The 1890 United
Photo courtesy Barclay
Gibson, April 2004
Site, and Marker
Junction of Hwy 29 & Lower Willow Creek Rd.
Photo courtesy Elwin Jensen, March 2007
Homesite and Cemetery
Kothmann (1798-1881) and his wife Ilse Katherine Pahlmann (1810-1905)
and their family sailed from Germany to Indianola,
Texas in 1845. Among the first families to settle in Fredericksburg,
the Kothmanns were issued a 640-acre land grant in Mason County in
1848. In 1856 they moved to Art and were among the first immigrant
families in this area. A trained cabinetmaker and musician, Kothmann
began ranching and acquired another 640-acre tract of land.
Located on their former homestead, the Kothmann Cemetery is all that
remains of the original ranch site. Containing only five graves, all
of Kothmann family members, the graveyard began with the burial of
Heinrich Conrad Kothmann in 1881. His wife Ilse is buried beside him.
Their son Karl, the first of their family born in Texas, is buried
here along with his wife Katherine (Hoerster) Kothmann. A fifth unmarked
grave is thought to be that of a grandchild.
Though most of the land was sold after Ilse's death in 1905, the family
retained one acre including the cemetery property. The concrete wall
and slab were constructed after 1937 to provide protection and ease
in maintenance for the five graves. The family maintains the cemetery.
courtesy Elwin Jensen, March 2007
much can be said about Art, we would invite the serious reader to
try to locate: Yesterday in the Texas Hill Country by Dr. Gilbert
J. Jordan, Texas A & M Press, 1978.
This small, very entertaining book includes the tiniest details of
life in Art and the other small German Hill Country communities that
no longer appear on highway maps.
The 160 page book. contains details on well-digging, sausage making,
courtship rituals, old-world customs and lessons in German-English
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in the Texas Hill Country
| Mason County
1907 postal map showing Plehweville
(Between Mason & Llano
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
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