Ed Peter built a large wooden dancehall behind his saloon and restaurant
it quickly became an important part of community life. Peter's Hall
was a gathering place for people of all ages and an amusement center
unlike any other.
In 1903 Ed Peter and Herman Mosel opened a saloon and restaurant in
a stone building on the corner of Main and Orange Streets. One year
later Peter bought out Mosel and became sole proprietor.
Carpenters built the large wooden hall behind the saloon in 1910.
A breezeway connected the 2 buildings.
Click on image to enlarge
| Peter's Hall,
with its large open floor space, was a dancehall and more. It was
an all-purpose community center that served a multitude of functions.
In the early days of silent films, Peter's Hall helped introduce Fredericksburg
to Fatty Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, William
S. Hart and Pearl White.
Anticipating Prohibition, Ed Peter bought a soda fountain from Hanisch
and Payne Drug Store in Fredericksburg.
Throughout the 1920s and early 30s, Peter's sold fountain drinks,
candy and near beer.
Traveling Vaudeville shows performed at Peter's Hall in the early
20th century. Vaudeville, a collection of diverse specialty acts featuring
singers, dancers, jugglers, acrobats and comedians, was a popular
form of live entertainment until the movies put it out of business.
Of the Vaudevillians who entertained audiences at Peter's Hall, a
few were truly talented. Most, like Murphy the Acting Monkey and the
guy who played the flute with his nose, were simply quirky.
Peter's Hall hosted wrestling matches and music recitals. Its massive
wooden floor converted to a skating rink. Fredericksburg High School
played home basketball games there in the 1920s and 30s. Fredericksburg
High School and St. Mary's High School held graduation ceremonies
On Feb 13, 1928 the J. I. Case Company gave an exhibition of its new
threshing machine at Peter's Hall. Beginning in the 1930s the local
Chevrolet dealer announced its new models at Peter's Hall.
The Louis Jordan Post of the American Legion was founded in Peter's
Hall. Officials of the Hill Country Baseball League often met at Peter's
Hall to plan the coming season.
For years Peter's Hall was the site of the Miss Fredericksburg Pageant.
The Fredericksburg Garden Club held its annual Flower Show there.
Fredericksburg Publishing Co., the gas company and local appliance
dealers sponsored a yearly cooking school at Peter's Hall.
| Peter's Hall
was one of 23 polling places in Gillespie
County. Election night at Peter's was a huge event, especially
in presidential election years. People from all over the county gathered
to watch the votes tallied on a big chalk board.
Perhaps the most spectacular events held at Peter's Hall were the
Following a tradition brought from Germany, towns throughout the German
Hill Country formed singing clubs. Peter's Hall often hosted the Gillespie
County Singing Festival and the regional singing festival whenever
it came to Fredericksburg.
The regional festival began at 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning with
a parade of participants down Main Street. The parade began at the
Nimitz Hotel and ended
at Peter's Hall. There the parade disbanded for "refreshments, songs
Groups performed for bragging rights. No sporting event was more hotly
contested. The highlight of the weekend was a mass chorus, often over
600 voices strong, performing for a capacity crowd at Peter's Hall.
The heyday of Peter's Hall was the time before television. People
spent leisure hours with friends and neighbors - eating, drinking,
dancing, singing and socializing.
Then in the 1950s, business at Peter's Hall declined. Television had
changed entertainment habits and social patterns. People stayed home
more - watching Lucy and eating TV dinners. Peter's Hall was from
another time, and its time had passed.
By 1960 the old wooden building was in need of repair, but the owners
decided to sell the property, which sat on prime Main Street real
estate, rather than repair the hall and keep the business going.
Workers razed Peter's Hall in 1960 to make way for the Community Savings
and Loan building - now Fredericksburg BBVA Bank.
May 1, 2020 Column
"Peter's Opera, Center of Amusement," Fredericksburg Standard,
March 18, 1937
"Free Demonstration," Fredericksburg Standard, February 11,
"Peter's Hall to Reopen for Dancing With Easter Night Dance on April
9," Fredericksburg Standard, April 5, 1950.
Peter's Hall: Old Timers Remember It Well," Fredericksburg Standard,
December 17, 1975.