Wilde About Texas: Sophienburg
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The promise of land and opportunity was enough for many 19th century Germans to pack up and head for Texas.
The first families sailed into Galveston, bringing only what they could fit in a trunk.
Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Germany was tasked with finding a place where the immigrants could settle. He purchased land along the Guadalupe and Comal rivers.
The prince made plans to make New Braunfels his home, laying out the site he intended to bring his new bride home to.
That site is now called Sophienburg, a museum and historical archive.
"Princess Sophie, who he had left behind in Germany, he had hoped that he would marry her, bring her back to Texas, build a castle such as he had in Braunfels on a hill. He named it the ‘Sophienburg,’ which means Sophie's hill," Lisa Dietert with Sophienburg said.
Prince Carl returned to Germany and married Sophie, but the two never returned to Texas.
"We tell the story of why and how the Germans came to this part of Texas," Dietert said.
In addition to a museum, the Sophienburg houses an archive of historic records dating back to those first settlements. Many of the German immigrants who came to Central Texas in proceeding years passed through New Braunfels.
"If their family came through here, the possibility is that we have some information on them," Dietert said
As a fifth generation New Braunfelser, Dietert says those first settlers were determined to succeed.
“They were that good, old German stock, persevering and tough," she said.
This July, the museum celebrated the 200th anniversary of Prince Carl's birth. Click here for more information on the museum.