by Sandy Fiedler
with Modern Tourism
US-290 and Hwy 16
80 miles West of Austin
demonstrating the craft of covering chair bottoms with fresh cowhide.
Pioneer Museum in downtown Frederickburg
Founder's Day Festival held every May
Photo courtesy Sandy Fiedler
does the assassination of JFK have to do with the development of tourism
in Fredericksburg, Texas? A lot. But first, how did Fredericksburg
come to be in the first place?
In 1846 John O. Meusebach, Commissioner-General of the Society
for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas, led his group
of 120 into the area between the banks of the Llano and Colorado Rivers.
Naming the colony for Prince Frederick of Prussia, Meusebach oversaw
the division of land. Ten acres of farmland and a town lot 100' by
200' went to each married man, and ten acres to each single man 17
years or older.
It was the best of times and the worst of times, to borrow a phrase-wonderful
because it was a time of new beginnings, and terrifying because there
was no backup plan in case of failure. No buildings, bridges, or streets
were there to reveal the shape of a man's hand at work. No one sold
them a beam, board, or stone.
Every structure, from the humblest cabin to the first church, they
had to make themselves out of the raw land.
Replica of "Vereins Kirche" or "Society's Church"
Courtesy of Sandy Fiedler
the colony were skilled craftsmen, builders, merchants, farmers, and
professionals representing all classes of society, serving to build
a community based on integrity, industriousness, and faith in God.
In 1847 construction began on "society's church," the Vereins Kirche.
It was a small octagonal building, which served as a church for all
denominations and as a schoolhouse, its bell heralding important events.
Although the original building eventually fell into disuse and was
razed, a replica erected in 1935 now stands in the middle of the Marktplatz
on Main Street.
House" on the grounds of Pioneer Museum complex
Courtesy of Sandy Fiedler
of loneliness were eased on weekends when farmers brought families
into town. They stayed with relatives and friends. About 1897 a new
trend began to change the appearance of the town. Because of a rumor
that town folks were tired of their country cousins' spending every
weekend with them, one man decided to build his family a "Sunday
house". Before long, dozens of one-and two-room houses sprang
up, clustered near the churches because attending church was so important.
The farmers and ranchers came to town on Saturdays to trade their
products with local merchants and townspeople, attend church on Sunday,
and return home later that day.
For about fifty years Sunday houses played an important role in the
life of the town. Eventually, however, good roads and automobiles
erased the necessity for a separate place in town. Of the more than
100 Sunday houses built, most remain intact, still used as homes or