New Braunfels, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas
City of New Braunfels
—  City  —
Guadalupe River under Interstate 35 in New Braunfels
Motto: friendship
Location of New Braunfels in Texas
Coordinates: 29°42′6″N 98°7′25″W / 29.70167°N 98.12361°W / 29.70167; -98.12361Coordinates: 29°42′6″N 98°7′25″W / 29.70167°N 98.12361°W / 29.70167; -98.12361
Country United StatesUnited States
State TexasTexas
Counties Comal, Guadalupe
Founded 1845
 - Type Council-Manager
 - City Council Mayor Bruce Boyer
Richard Zapata
Mark Goodner
Mike Ybarra
Sandy Nolte
Kathleen Krueger
Steven Digges
 - City Manager Michael Morrison
 - Total 29.4 sq mi (76.1 km2)
 - Land 29.2 sq mi (75.7 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 630 ft (192 m)
Population (2010)
 - Total 57,740
 - Density 1,604.4/sq mi (619.8/km2)
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 830
FIPS code 48-50820[1]
GNIS feature ID 1342440[2]

New Braunfels Listeni/ˌnj ˈbrɔːnfəlz/ is a city in Comal and Guadalupe counties in the U.S. state of Texas that is a principal city of the San Antonio–New Braunfels metropolitan area. Braunfels means "brown rock" in German; the city is named for Braunfels, in Germany. The city's population was 57,740 as of the 2010 census, up 58% from the 2000 census population of 36,494. It is the seat of Comal County[3]. New Braunfels has a sizeable German Texan community. During the 19th century, its name was often spelled Neu-Braunfels, even by English speakers.



New Braunfels was established in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Commissioner General of the Adelsverein, also known as the Noblemen's Society (in German: Mainzer Adelsverein). Prince Solms named the settlement in honor of his home of Solms-Braunfels, Germany.

The Adelsverein organized hundreds of people in Germany to settle in Texas. Immigrants from Germany began arriving at Galveston in July, 1844. Most then traveled by ship to Indianola in December, 1844 and began the overland journey to the Fisher-Miller Land Grant purchased by Prince Solms.[4] At the urging of John Coffee Hays, who realized the settlers would not have time to build homes and plant crops further inland before winter, and as the German settlers were traveling inland along the Guadalupe River, they stopped near the Comal springs. Prince Solms bought two leagues of land from the Rafael Garza and Maria Antonio Veramendi Garza for $1,111.00.[5]

German immigrants on the way to New Braunfels (1844)

The land was located northeast of San Antonio on the El Camino Real de los Tejas and had the strong freshwater Comal Springs, known as Las Fontanas when the Germans arrived.[6][7][8] It was also approximately halfway between Indianola and the lower portions of the Fisher-Miller land grant. The first settlers forded the Guadalupe River on Good Friday, March 21, 1845, near the present day Faust Street bridge.[9][10]

As the Spring of 1845 progressed, the settlers built "Zinkenburg", a fort named for Adelsverein civil engineer Nicolaus Zink, divided the land, and began building homes and planting crops.[11] Prince Solms would also lay the cornerstone for the Sophienburg, a permanent fort and center for the immigrant association.[12]

Old map (1881)

In 1844, Prince Solms was so disillusioned with the logistics of the colonization that he asked the Vereins to remove him as Commissioner-General and appoint a successor.[13] When John O. Meusebach arrived, the finances were in disarray, due in part to Prince Solms' lack of business experience and his refusal to keep financial records. To a larger degree, the financial situation happened because the Adelsverein was an organization of noblemen with no practical backgrounds at running a business. They were on the other side of the world and did not witness the situation both Prince Solms and Meusebach were dealing with. Henry Francis Fisher had not supplied transport and supplies for which the Verein advanced money to him. Meusebach found Prince Solms in Galveston trying to return to Germany, detained by authorities for unpaid bills. Meusebach made good on the debts so Prince Solms could depart.[14]

Meusebach discovered that the Prince Solms choice of the inadequate Carlshafen (Indianola) as a port of entry, as well as the isolated route to New Braunfels, was deliberately chosen to keep the Germans from interacting with any Americans. According to Nicolaus Zink,[15] Prince Solms had planned to establish a German feudal state by secretly bringing in immigrants and placing them in military fortresses. Meusebach, who had renounced his own title of nobility, took a different approach and invited Americans to settle in the Vereins territory.[16]

Prince Solms being an officer of the Imperial Army of Austria, had kept a uniformed military unit at the ready in Indianola. Meusebach converted the military unit to a more needed work detail.[17] A finance and business structure for the colony was put in place by Meusebach.[18] He also provided for adequate food and shelter for the colonists.[19] On August 11, 1845, Hermann Friedrich Seele[20] became the first teacher for the German-English school in New Braunfels.[21] Meusebach established friendly relations with a local tribe of Waco indians. Upon seeing his reddish-blonde hair, they called him "Ma-be-quo-si-to-mu", "Chief with the burning hair of the head".[22]

In May 1846, Meusebach received a letter from Count Castell informing him 4,304 emigrants were on their way to Texas. With no funds and no new settlements, the mass of emigrants were stalled at Carlshafen. Meusebach's requests to the Verein for more money, and his warnings at pending bankruptcy for the Verein, brought no results. As a last resort, Meusebach instructed D.H. Klaener to publish the plight in the German news media. Embarrassed by the publicity, the Verein established a $60,000 letter of credit.[23] The amount was not adequate for sustaining the total amount of German emigrants in Texas, but Castell also sent Philip Cappes as Special Commissioner to observe the situation. Cappes had also been instructed by Castell to observe Meusebach and to secretly report back every detail.[24] By the time Cappes departed in March 1847, he recommended another $200,000 be advanced.[25]

Cappes invited Henry Francis Fisher to New Braunfels, in spite of Fisher not being entirely trustworthy to the Verein. February 11, 1845, Fisher had been involved in coercing newly arrived immigrants to sign documents stating their intent to depart from the Verein and align with Fisher's friend Dr. Friedrich A. Schubbert. Cappes was not in town when Meusebach was breakfast host to Fisher on December 31, 1846. Posters had mysteriously appeared about town maligning Meusebach, saying "Curses upon Meusebach the slave driver," and inciting colonists to free themselves from his "tyranny". A group led by Rudolph Iwonski[26] pushed their way into Meusebach's home, and colonist C. Herber brandished a whip. Herber was an alleged counterfeiter to whom Count Castell had awarded asylum. Meusebach and Herber shared a mutual dislike of one another.[27]

The colonists had a list of demands that included Meusebach resigning as Commissioner-General and turning the colonization over to Fisher.[28] Meusebach kept his composure but the group became so heated they yelled, "Hang him!" When the estimated 120 men dispersed, Fisher was nowhere to be found. The same evening, a different group of individuals assembled and pledged to stand by Meusebach, the next day passing resolutions condemning the actions of the mob.[29] Meusebach himself had considered leaving Texas as early as November 1845, when he wrote to Count Castell and announced his intention to resign and return to Germany. Meusebach did not feel the Adelsverein was organized enough to achieve its goals. After the mob visit in New Braunfels, he again submitted his resignation to accompany a financial report to Castell on January 23, 1847.[30]

Meusebach had arranged with the Torrey Brothers for transporting the emigrants inland, but the United States hired the Torrey Brothers for use in the Mexican-American War.[31] An epidemic of spinal meningitis broke out at Carlshafen and spread with the emigrants to New Braunfels and Fredericksburg.[32]

Meusebach stabilized the community's finances, and encouraged the settlers to establish additional neighboring communities. The largest of these secondary settlements was Fredericksburg, 80 miles to the northwest of New Braunfels.

New Braunfels thrived, and by 1850, it was the fourth largest city in Texas, with 1,723 people, following only Galveston, San Antonio, and Houston in population. In 1852, the Zeitung newspaper was established, edited by German Texan botanist Ferdinand Lindheimer. The newspaper continues to publish under its current name, the Herald-Zeitung.


New Braunfels is located at 29°42′06″N 98°07′25″W / 29.701724°N 98.123559°W / 29.701724; -98.123559 (29.701724, -98.123559).[33] This is 30 miles (48 km) northeast of San Antonio and 45 miles (72 km) southwest of Austin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.4 square miles (76.1 km2), of which, 29.2 square miles (75.8 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km2) of it (0.51%) is water.

The city is situated along the Balcones Fault, where the Texas Hill Country meets rolling prairie land. Along the fault in the city, a string of artesian springs known as Comal Springs give rise to the Comal River, which is known as one of the shortest rivers in the world, as it winds three miles through the city before meeting the Guadalupe River.


The culture of New Braunfels was heavily influenced by the Germans who settled in the community.[34]


Gruene, Texas, or the Gruene Historical District, is located within the city limits of New Braunfels. Founded by the sons of settlers Ernst and Antoinette Gruene, it had a bank, post office, school, general store, lumberyard, gristmill, dance hall,and cotton gin. It also had access to two railways for shipping cotton bales, a real coup in those times. Its most famous attribute was the dance hall, a family activity in those days. Due to the failure of the cotton crop from Boll Weevils, and the failure of the banks after 1929, commercial activity slowed to a crawl. This village is now a Nationally Registered Historic District where you can dine in the ruins of the original Gristmill or enjoy live music at Gruene Hall. The community may also be researched through the Sophienburg Museum and Archives.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 36,494 people, 13,558 households, and 9,599 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,247.7 people per square mile (481.7/km2). There were 14,896 housing units at an average density of 509.3 per square mile (196.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.30% White, 1.37% African American, 0.55% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 10.93% from other races, and 2.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 34.52% of the population.

There were 13,558 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,078, and the median income for a family was $46,726. Males had a median income of $31,140 versus $23,235 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,548. About 9.0% of families and 10.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.


New Braunfels experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and a generally mild winter. Temperatures range from 83 °F (27.8 C) in the summer to 49 °F (9.4 C) during winter.

Climate data for New Braunfels, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
Average high °F (°C) 62
Daily mean °F (°C) 49
Average low °F (°C) 37
Record low °F (°C) 2
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.88
Source: The Weather Channel[35]


New Braunfels is served by the New Braunfels Independent School District, Comal Independent School District, Alamo Colleges - Central Texas Technology Center (, and private schools.


The GEO Group maintains its Central Regional Office in New Braunfels.[36]

Public schools

Private schools

Recreation and tourism

The town holds a German-style festival, Wurstfest ("sausage festival"), every November to celebrate the city's German heritage.

New Braunfels draws a fair amount of tourists from across the state, particularly because of the cold-spring rivers that run through the city. Many generations of families still return during the summer to tube down the Guadalupe River and Comal River. New Braunfels is the site of a water park, Schlitterbahn WaterPark Resort. The Texas Ski Ranch provides a cable lake for wakeboarding. The Comal River is one of the shortest in the world at just 3.2 miles (5.2 km) long, before emptying into the Guadalupe River. The headwaters of the Comal are located in present day Landa Park, where hundreds of artesian springs flow from the Edwards Aquifer. The upper reaches are surrounded by park and private residences, while the lower portions are open for recreation.


The New Braunfels Public Library is located at 700 East Common Street. The library is a member of the Alamo Area Library System.

Media communications

The newspaper Herald Zeitung was originally two newspapers: The Herald (published in English) and The Zeitung (published in German) until 1967.


See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ King (1967) p.53
  5. ^ King (1967) p.37
  6. ^ "Comal Springs". Edwards Aquifer. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Brune, Gunnar. "Comal Springs". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Brune, Gunnar; Besse, Helen C (2002). Springs of Texas: Volume I. TAMU Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-1585441969. 
  9. ^ "Faust Street Bridge". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  10. ^ Greene, Daniel P. "New Braunfels, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  11. ^ Ragsdale, Crystal Sasse. "Zinkenburg". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  12. ^ Blackman, Clyde T. "Sophienburg Museum and Archives". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  13. ^ King (1967) pp.35-38
  14. ^ King (1967) pp.52-58
  15. ^ Ragsdale, Crystal Sasse. "Nicolaus Zink". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  16. ^ King (1967) pp.59-60
  17. ^ King (1967) p.63
  18. ^ King (1967) p.64
  19. ^ King (1967) p.65
  20. ^ Breitenkamp, Edward C. "Hermann Friedrich Seele". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  21. ^ King (1967) p.66
  22. ^ King (1967) p.67
  23. ^ King (1967) pp.75-83
  24. ^ Morgenthaler (2007) p.56
  25. ^ King (1967) pp.96-101
  26. ^ Johnson (2009) p.10
  27. ^ King (1967) p.98
  28. ^ Morgenthaler (2007) p.61
  29. ^ King (1967) p.103
  30. ^ King (1967) pp.110,125
  31. ^ King (1967) pp.85,87
  32. ^ King (1967) p.88
  33. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  34. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella. "Texas town wants to capitalize on German roots." CNN. July 19, 2011. Retrieved on July 19, 2011.
  35. ^ "Monthly Averages for New Braunfels, Texas". The Weather Channel. 
  36. ^ "Central Regional Office." GEO Group. Retrieved on July 19, 2010.


  • King, Irene Marschall (1967). John O.Meusebach. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0292736566. 
  • Lich, Glen E (1996). The German Texans. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0867010725. 
  • Biesele, Rudolph Leopold (orig. 1930; reprints 1987 and 2008). The History of the German Settlements in Texas 1831-1861. Eakin Press. ISBN 978-1571688576. 
  • Haas, Oscar (Orig 1968; Reprint1983). History of New Braunfels and Comal County,Texas 1844-1946. 
  • Solms, Carl; Gish, Theodore G; Von-Maszweski, Wolfram M (2000). Voyage to North America, 1844-45: Prince Carl of Solms' Texas Diary of People, Places, and Events. University of North Texas Press. ISBN 978-1574411249. 
  • Jefferson, Morgenthaler (2007). The German Settlement of the Texas Hill Country. Mockingbird Books. ISBN 978-1932801095. 
  • Johnson, David; Miller, Rick (2009). The Mason County ""Hoo Doo"" War, 1874-1902 (A.C. Greene Series). University of North Texas Press. ISBN 978-1574412628. 
  • Kattner, Lauren Ann (1991). "From Immigrant Settlement into Town: New Braunfels, Texas, 1845-1870". American Studies 36 (2): 155–177. 

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