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BERNARDO, TEXAS

Colorado County, Central Texas South

29 45' 39" N, 96 23' 32" W (29.760833, -96.392222)
FM 949 and Bernardo Road
Between I-10 and Cat Spring
S of the San Bernard River
12 miles NE of Columbus the county seat
Population: 155 (1990, 2000)

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Rabbitt Hunters , Bernado, Texas vintage group photo
Rabbit Hunters in Bernardo
Photo courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library # 00521

History in a Pecan Shell

Bernardo's history is similar to that of nearby Mentz. It was started by German immigrants in the 1840s and the population was supplemented by more immigrants once the Civil War was over. All German settlers in this region preferred the rich soil and Indian-free environment. While more land was available further west in Gillespie and Mason counties, the soil was thinner there and the Indians more numerous.

Once known as Bernardo Prairie and earlier called Braden; after early settling families - Bernardo was on the main road from Houston, but too close to Columbus to prosper on its own. During the Civil War, Bernardo was a drop-off point for cotton that was to be sent down the "cotton road" to Bagdad, Mexico. But this second chance to prosper was usurped by nearby Alleyton - who became known as being the point of origin for the Civil War cotton trade.

Bernardo did have a post office in operation, but it came late (1898) and was discontinued early (sometime in 1917).

The community had a school taught by the Sisters of Divine Providence which merged with the Mentz Catholic school (also administered by the Sisters) in 1911.

Bernardo maintains a volunteer fire department and remains a Colorado County voting precinct. Some descendants of original settlers remain, but Houston retirees have bought much of the land that had once been family farms.
Bernardo TX Class Photo
Bernardo Class Photo
Photo courtesy Nesbitt Memorial Library
See Texas Schoolhouses
Bernardo TX Store
Bernardo Farm & Ranch Supply
Photo courtesy John J. Germann, July 2015
Bernardo TX Highway Sign
Bernardo Highway Sign
Photo courtesy John J. Germann, July 2015
More Texas Signs

TX - Mentz-Bernardo Community Historical Marker

Mentz-Bernardo Community Historical Marker
TE photo

Mentz-Bernardo Community

As early as the 1830s German immigrants had begun to settle in the general vicinity of Cat Spring. They were soon joined by others who preferred this region to the various sites that had been designated formal colonization efforts. With the area's continued growth, the settlements of Bernardo (4 mi. E) and Mentz developed as early focal points of the surrounding agricultural community.

The German settlers who founded Mentz named the pioneer community for an area of their homeland. Predominately Roman Catholic, they established St. Roch parish by 1858 under the leadership of priests from Frelsburg. The church developed as the religious, social and cultural center of the area.

Bernardo was begun about 1845 on an important early route from Houston to inland settlements. Because of its location on the prairie land of the San Bernard River, the rural community was first known as Bernardo Prairie.

Once identified by separate schools and post offices, the two settlements now share a common lifestyle and heritage, which reflect the continued influence of the early German settlers. Their descendants still live in the Mentz-Bernardo Community.
1982
Bernardo Prairie TX, Colorado County, 1893 postmark
Bernardo, TX, Colorado County, 1910 postmark
Cover cancelled with Bernardo Prairie 1893 postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection
Bernardo, TX, Colorado County, 1910 postmark
Bernardo, TX, Colorado County, 1910 postmark
Postcard cancelled with Bernardo, TX 1910 postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection
Colorado County TX 1907 Postal Map
1907 Colorado County postal map showing Mentz & Bernardo
NE of Columbus

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Bernardo, Texas Nearby Towns:
Columbus the county seat
Mentz
Cat Spring
See Colorado County | Central Texas South

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