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Wilde About Texas: Fredericksburg heritage honored
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Fredericksburg was officially founded 166 years ago by a group of 120 German settlers.
Shortly after the Republic of Texas won its independence, word spread around Europe that a new country was looking for settlers.
"The way the politics and the economics were in Germany at the time, this sounded like a good deal to our ancestors," Pioneer Museum spokesperson Evelyn Weinheimer said.
The promise of land and opportunity lead one group of Germans to cross the ocean and eventually end up in the hill country.
They staked their claim on May 8, 1846.
"About 120 settlers, led by Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach, arrived here in Fredericksburg, and that has become our official founding date," Weinheimer said.
Early buildings were simple but soon mirrored the architecture of their homeland mixed with some Texas limestone.
"By 1847 they had the Vereins Kirche, which is that 8-sided building which has now become a trademark of Fredericksburg," Weinheimer said.
The Vereins Kirche was originally built as a place of worship, a community center and a place of employment for one of Weinheimer ancestors.
"The first teacher at the Vereins Kirche, who taught school during the week, was my great, great, great grandfather," Weinheimer said.
In less than a year, Meusebach entered into a treaty with the Comanches and welcomed hundreds of new immigrants. They even took up farming, which has become an important crop for the region.
"Many people probably don't realize he was instrumental in grapes, the grape growing here in Gillespie County," Weinheimer said
Thousands flock to the city to enjoy the fruits of the early settlers’ labor, even 166 years later.
The town of Fredericksburg will celebrate Founders Day by honoring members of the founding families. There will also be living history demonstrations at the Pioneer museum.
Learn more about the event by clicking here.