About New Braunfels
The perfect combination of old and new.
New Braunfels is located in the heart of Central Texas, 45 miles southwest of Austin and 30 miles northeast of San Antonio. The population is over 58,000 citizens who enjoy the City’s peaceful setting along the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers.
Downtown New Braunfels is located off Interstate 35 at exit 187. It is home to specialty retail, quaint dining, comfortable lodging, cultural arts, entertainment, and business services. Downtown New Braunfels is well known for its historic Main Plaza and bandstand which serve as a focal point for residents and visitors alike. The Plaza is a central location for various family friendly events and festivals held throughout the year such as Wein & Saengerfest, Downtown Tree Lighting and Wassailfest.
If you are looking for a wonderful mix of good food, good finds and great fun; Discover Downtown New Braunfels, the perfect place to shop, play, and stay!
A Brief History of New Braunfels
Several Indian tribes inhabited this area because of the fresh spring water. The expedition of Domingo Terán de los Ríos of 1691, followed the “El Camino Real” (today a National Historic Trail) which crossed the Guadalupe River near today’s Faust Street Bridge. Subsequent French and Spanish expeditions, including those of the Marqués de Aguayo and Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, commonly passed through this area. In 1756 Comal Springs became the site of the short-lived Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Mission, which closed in 1758. Nearly a century passed before settlement of this area became permanent. In 1825, a Mexican land grant gave title of the area around the springs to Juan M. Veramendi. During the eighteenth century, the springs and river (which had been called Las Fontanas and the Little Guadalupe respectively) took the name Comal, Spanish for "flat dish" and Guadalupe.
1836 saw the formation of the Republic of Texas after years of bloody battles with the Mexican Government who had claim on this territory. In order to pay off war debt and weaken political ties with Mexico, the new nation of Texas offered public land to Americans and Europeans. This offer in conjunction with political strife in their home country enticed a group of German nobleman to form an immigration company named Adelsverein. German immigrants began to arrive in Indianola, Texas in December 1844 and make their way to San Antonio. March 13, 1845 Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Germany, entered into an agreement with Maria Antonio Garza and her husband Rafael E. Garza for 1,265 acres of the Veramendi land grant for a sum of $1,111.
The first wagon of immigrants arrived on Good Friday, March 21, 1845 and camped on a bluff over looking the Comal River. The area is now the site of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Prince Solms and his engineer, Nicholas Zink, selected a town site. The town had an open square with streets radiating out at right angles. The original town included 342 lots, each with a narrow street frontage so that the town could remain compact and defensible yet provide street frontage to as many lots as possible. This urban plan was popular in German scholarship of the nineteenth century and set New Braunfels apart from other Texas towns and is still evident today.
Native Tennessean and plantation owner William Merriwether purchased a 480-acre tract directly from the Veramendi family in 1847 to start a water-powered grist and saw mill. This area eventually became today’s Landa Park. Several other mills were constructed along the river.
The International and Great Northern Railroad arrived in 1880 and contributed greatly to the industrial, commercial and economic growth of the city. The passenger station is still in its original location and now operates as a museum. Henne Hardware store was built in 1893 on San Antonio Street and still stands and operates today as a hardware store.
Helen Gould, daughter of Jay Gould, International and Great North Railroad primary stakeholder, saw the Landa estate and was so impressed with the natural beauty she convinced Harry Landa to open it up as a park and her father to build a rail spur. Thousands of visitors boarded the train from San Antonio for seventy-five cents per round trip. Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad followed suit in 1900 by laying tracks into the park as well. The tourist industry continued to flourish with Camp Warnecke opening in 1918 with cabins located along the Comal river for camping, swimming and fishing.