Once you’ve had the chance to enjoy a walk along Fredericksburg’s Main Street, head down to the Pioneer Museum for an intriguing look at how this tightly-knit community was formed from the mid-1800’s to the 1920’s.
Walk through the museum’s nine buildings (many accompanied by brief audio clips) to gain an appreciation for the German pioneers who endured hardship to begin life anew in Texas.
This German enclave in the middle of the Lone Star State came about when land grants became available. At the time, not everyone in Germany was able to own land, so the promise of ownership in a new country had an instant appeal.
After a two-month journey from Germany, the new settlers had a difficult time heading up to Fredericksburg since Texas was no longer a republic (during that period, Texas became a state and was at war with Mexico).
You’ll discover how John Meusebach negotiated a peace treaty with the Penateka Comanche Indians in 1847 to help settle the affairs of the immigrants.
Education was important to the community; many one-room schools were set up, teaching English and German to school kids.
In the early 1850’s, Fredericksburg was the last stop for travellers between El Paso and the West coast, so a bath and warm shave became essential. For a quarter, men could get what might have been their last bath and shave for several months!
From the Kammlah Barn to the Weber Sunday House, detail-rich spaces are filled with items donated to the Gillespie County Historical Society by area residents in order to give visitors a realistic look at life in a proud, hard-working community.
The museum grounds are shaded by large pecan trees and are landscaped with native plants.
Visit The Pioneer Museum online for hours, admission and special events.
About the Gillespie County Historical Society
The Gillespie County Historical Society (GCHS) was formed in 1935 to preserve and share the history of Fredericksburg, Gillespie County and the surrounding Texas Hill Country. The first Pioneer Museum site was the Vereins Kirche located in the 100 block of West Main Street. The Vereins Kirche is a 1935 replica of the original structure and is an extension of the Pioneer Museum.