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Gillespie County Seat, Texas Hill Country

30°16'27"N 98°52'19"W (30.274058, -98.871822)
US290 and Hwy 16
80 miles W of Austin
32 miles W of Johnson City
23 miles N of Comfort
24 miles NE of Kerrville
Population: 10,705 (2010) 8,911 (2000) 6,934 (1990)

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Fredericksburg, Texas Topics:

  • Fredericksburg Landmarks/Attractions
  • Gillespie County Courthouse next page
  • History
  • About Fredericksburg
  • Gillespie County - Towns and Ghost Towns next page
  • Fredericksburg Hotels Click here
  • Fredericksburg Landmarks / Attraction
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    Fredericksburg, Texas, 1939GillespieCounty Courthouse Christmas
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, December, 2004
    Gillespie County Courthouse
    1882 Gillespie Cunty courthouse
    The 1882 Gillespie County Courthouse now used as the Gillespie County Library.
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough
    The Former Gillespie County Courthouse c.1882

    On the Public Square near the current courthouse.
    Designed by Alfred Giles, English Architect turned Texas Sheep Rancher
    "...with its formal balance, heavy decorative consoles, and Classical roof slopes, [it possesses] the dignity characteristic of Renaissance Revival buildings." - Williard B. Robinson, Texas Public Buildings of the Nineteenth Century

    The White Elephant Saloon c. 1888
    242 East Main Street

    Once part of a chain of "Gentleman's resorts," the San Antonio and Fort Worth branches were probably a little rowdier than this one.
    Fredericksburg TX - White Elephant Saloon
    The former White Elephant Saloon
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough, May 2005

    Fredericksburg Texas - Gillespie County Jail
    The Gillespie County Jail
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough, May 2005
    The Jail Wall
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough, May 2005

    Fredericksburg Texas - Hohenberger Homestead
    Hohenberger Homestead
    Another example of German masonry.
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough, May 2005
    Fredericksburg Texas - stone wall
    Stone walls remain as noteable landmarks for Fredericksburg.
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough, May 2005

    From "Blending German Colonization with Modern Tourism " by
    Sandy Fiedler:
    "Today Main Street shows off dozens of marvelous shops for collectibles, antiques, crafts, etc. There are German restaurants, beer gartens, and bakeries (with shortbread, baked meringue, kolaches). The pleasing scents of candles fill the nostrils. Unobtrusive doorways lead to mysterious courtyards. Many of the ubiquitous historical markers are noticeable only if you are on foot in this understated, rich historical district. Churches stand all over the town like watchtowers of strength."
    Admiral Nimitz Museum Fredericksburg Texas
    Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site - National Museum of the Pacific War
    P O Box 777
    Fredericksburg TX 78624
    Courtesy of Sandy Fiedler

    "On Main Street is the Admiral Chester Nimitz Museum and Historical Center. Fredericksburg is proud to be the birthplace of Nimitz, Fleet Admiral of the Pacific Forces in World War II. This museum is part of the National Museum of the Pacific War with the new George Bush Gallery.

    "There are many bed and breakfast establishments and motels-there are no bad places to stay in Fredericksburg," voiced one resident. "Everything is clean and safe."

    ...You can regain a sense of what it used to be if you start with a tour of the Pioneer Museum Complex on Main Street in Fredericksburg.

    A Founders' Day Festival is held there every May."
    © Sandy Fiedler

    cabin in Pioneer Museum Fredericksburg Texas
    Authentic cabin relocated to Pioneer Museum Complex on Main Street
    Courtesy of Sandy Fiedler
    Fredericksburg TX post office mural
    Fredericksburg's Post Office Mural "Loading Cattle" by Otis Dozier, 1939
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough, 5-2005
    More Post Office Murals
    Fredericksburg Texas History
    History in a Pecan Shell

    Named in honor of Prince Frederick of Prussia, Fredericksburg had been the inland destination of the German immigrants who came to Texas through the port of Indianola. John O. Meusebach left New Braunfels in the summer of 1845 to survey the area with the first 120 settlers arriving the next spring.

    The trip which now takes an hour took the settlers 16 days.

    After the town was platted, each family settler received a town lot and ten acres outside of town. plan was a replica of the villages back in Germany. The earliest houses were log cabins that were soon replaced with Fachwerk buildings.

    Despite an epidemic that killed a tenth of the settlers, Fredericksburg soon had a respectible population of nearly 1,000. A road was built connecting Fredericksburg and Austin; and John Meusebach brokered a successful treaty with the Comanches.
    Vereins Kirche or society's church
    Replica of "Vereins Kirche" or "Society's Church"
    Photo courtesy of Sandy Fiedler

    Frederickburgs most important building was the Vereins-Kirche. Before it was razed in 1897, the structure had served as fort, church, school, and town hall. Restored in 1936 for the Centennial, the replica building now serves as offices for the Gillespie County Historical Society.

    Religious services had all been held in the Vereins-Kirche, until 1848 when Catholics built their own church.

    Fort Martin Scott, Texas
    Restored building at Fort Martin Scott
    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough, May 2005

    The United States Army established Fort Martin Scott, which became a boon to the local economy. Once cannibalized for its building stone, the fort is now defined by a reconstructed building - with more planned. Soon after the Texas legislature made Fredericksburg the Gillespie county seat.

    The Forgotten Indian Traveler by Mike Cox
    The men were Richard Irving Dodge, a young Army officer who would serve in the military for 41 years and John Conner, a noted Delaware Indian. The meeting happened at Fort Martin Scott...

    Thirty years went by before Dodge got around to writing about his experiences at Fort Martin Scott in his classic book, “The Wild Indians.”

    Fredericksburg  TX - Old St Mary's Church 1848
    Marienkirche (Old St. Mary's Church) c. 1848

    Built under the direction of Benedictine priest Peter Baunach, the church was built by its members.

    According to architectural historian Williard B. Robinson, "the aisles were paved by soapstone flagging, but the floor under the pews was covered with sand."

    Photo Courtesy Shannon Yarbrough
    The first newspaper appeared (in German) in 1877, and it wasn't until after 1900 that were the first purely English-speaking teachers employed in Fredericksburg's public schools.

    The first Gillespie County Fair (also believed to be the first in Texas) was held at Fort Martin Scott in 1881. By 1904 the population was 1,632. The San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway, arrived in November of 1913. The railroad later became the Fredericksburg and Northern and stayed in business until WWII.

    In 1928 citizens voted to incorporate. Up until then Fredericksburg had been the largest unincorporated town in the United States. It participated in a census for the first time in 1930 (giving a number of 2,416).

    Fredericksburg became the counties manufacturing center and local quarries supplied both granite and limestone. The Gillespie County Historical Society was founded in 1934 to preserve local history and traditions.

    Another historic building is the former Nimitz Hotel - the boyhood home of Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander of the Pacific Fleet during WWII.
    Coca Cola painted sign in Fredericksburg, Texas
    A Coca Cola sign in Fredericksburg
    Photo courtesy Shannon Yarbrough

    About Fredericksburg:

  • The Fredericksburg Railroad by Michael Barr
    Fredericksburg waited 30 years for the railroad, but when the train arrived it was a day late and a dollar short...
  • Nimitz Hotel by Mike Cox
  • Fredericksburg in the Roaring Twenties by Mike Cox
    Fredericksburg was just a small county seat town barely three generations removed from its founding by German immigrants when civic leaders first began to understand the importance of tourism...
  • Max Hirsch - Wizard of the Race Track by Michael Barr
    Max Hirsch, the dean of American horse trainers, sat in the clubhouse at Belmont Park on Long Island, New York and reminisced about his first race as a jockey. It was a Sunday afternoon match race down Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas
  • Street Name Trivia by Joe Foster
    The first letters of streets intersecting Main Street heading southeast from the center of town spell "ALL WELCOME"...
    The first letters of streets intersecting Main Street heading northwest from the center of town spell "COME BACK". more
  • Bats by Clay Coppedge
    As it is and has been, about 100 million bats, mostly Mexican free tail bats, make their summer homes in Texas. The bats love Texas for the same reason a lot of people do: geography and climate. Bats love caves and the state has some 3,000 caves and sinkholes though most of the bat colonies are concentrated in about two dozen of those caves. Bracken Cave near Fredericksburg has a thriving metropolis of 20 million bats, the largest known bat colony in the world. Those 20 million bats can eat 200 tons of insects in a single night, including mosquitoes and agricultural pests that plague cotton and corn crops. more
  • Nine Pin Bowling by Michael Barr
  • Pioneer Mills by Michael Barr
    Guenther bought land along the banks of Live Oak Creek where he built an earthen dam and a millhouse. The site of Guenther's mill is just north of the Live Oak Creek bridge on Highway 16, between the bridge and Lady Bird Johnson Park.
  • Fredericksburg Related Stories
  • Willie Molter: An Eye for Horses by Michael Barr
  • The Meusebach-Comanche Treaty by Jeffrey Robenalt
    In early spring of 1847, a remarkable treaty between German settlers and Native Americans was negotiated on the banks of the San Saba River in the hill country north of Fredericksburg, Texas.
  • Meusebach's Nursery in Loyal Valley by Michael Barr
  • The Little Engine That Couldn't by C. F. Eckhardt
    The Fredericksburg & Northern Railroad
    "... Even after the War, with much improved roads and a much lessened Indian problem, it still took freight wagons the better part of a week to travel from San Antonio to Fredericksburg... The people north and west of San Antonio wanted and needed a railroad... more"
  • Fredericksburg Native Sons
  • Buck Taylor, King of the Cowboys by Michael Barr

  • Fredericksburg Area Natural Attractions
  • Old Tunnel State Park
    Brazilian Bats
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
    On Big Sandy Creek, near Gillespie and Llano County lines.
    18 miles North of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 965
    16710 Ranch Rd 965
    Fredericksburg TX 78624


    Fredericksburg Texas Tourist information:
  • Pioneer Museum Complex
    309 W. Main St. Fredericksburg, TX 78624
    Closed major holidays
    Website: pioneermuseum.com
  • Fredericksburg Hotels > Book Here

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