German Pioneer Monument ground-breaking

In the center forefront Carl Biebers, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Pioneer Memorial Celebration, is holding a shovel while Park Commissioner Albert Ludwig strikes the first blow during the German Pioneer Monument ground-breaking. Others in the photo are, from left, Texas Gov. James C.Allred, Mayor H.F. Fischer, Joe Sanders, unknown, City Commissioner George  Reininger, sculptor Hugo Villa, and architect Leo M.J.Dielmann. The ground-breaking took place Oct. 9, 1936 in Landa Park during the German Day Fete. Courtesy of Barbara Ludwig Cobb. Courtesy of Barbara Ludwig Cobb.

 

The July 24, 1936 issue of the New Braunfels Herald carried an announcement from the local directors of the German Pioneer Monument Association: John Fuchs, Paul Jahn and R.H. Wagenfuehr. The announcement was an invitation to the public to attend a meeting of all citizens of Comal County on Tuesday evening, July 28th at 8 p.m. at the Court House.

It stated, “Plans are to be made for the celebration of the German Day at Landa Park on October 9th..  All citizens and particularly officers and members of all clubs are requested to be present at this meeting.”

The Herald article continued, “The Centennial Committee of Texas have designated the week from October 5th  to October 11th as German week. The celebration begins in Dallas during the beginning of that week, and the German Day celebration in New Braunfels on Oct. 9  is a continuation thereof and it will close with a big  Saenger Fest in San Antonio on October 10th and 11th.”

It further stated, “It is up to us to work out a fitting program. We hope on the same occasion to lay the cornerstone or at least dedicate the site for the German Pioneer Monument. New Braunfels can be proud of the fact that it has been selected for the site of this monument and of course, all citizens of Comal County appreciate it.”

The Comal County planning meeting in July went well. As a result there was an exceptional  attendance of over 3,500 from throughout the state that came to Landa Park for the German Day Fete the following October 9th which included the ground-breaking for the German Pioneer Monument.

Appropriately,  among the five brass plaques that would be part of the future German Pioneer Monument was one plaque which revealed the earliest Texas pioneer settlers from Germany. The initial portion of the plaque states:

The first German settlements in Texas were Industry in Austin County, founded by Friedrich Ernst in 1831. Biegel in Fayette County by Joseph Biegel in 1832, Cat Spring in Austin County, founded by the Von Roeder, Kleberg, and Amsler families in 1834. And Frelsburg in Colorado County, founded by William Frels about 1837.

Another of the five plaques states:

On the Western Frontier of Texas the Verein Zum Schutze Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas founded seven settlements from 1845-1847-New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Castell, Leiningen, Schoenburg, Mecrholz, and Bettina. The settlers came mainly from Nassau, Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Cassel, and Hanover.

Many of those 3,500 in attendance at the German Day Fete in Landa Park were descendants of pioneers from those early settlements mentioned on the plaques.  Gov. James C. Allred in his address that day paid tribute to heroes of German extraction who took active part in the history of the State of Texas. He stated that good citizenship could be inspired by events in Texas history. He paid special tribute to heroes of German descent who fought at Goliad with Fannin and at San Jacinto with Houston and at all Texas battles. The Governor acclaimed the ground-breaking across from the old oak in Landa Park to be the first official step toward the erection of a memorial to the German pioneers of Texas.

John R. Fuchs as president of the Memorial Association and Henry B. Dielmann as president of the German Day Association of San Antonio addressed the crowd in German and English paying tribute to Germans who came to Texas to found homes rather than in search of treasure and adventure.

It was John Fuchs who pointed out the significance of the giant trees where Dr. Lindheimer is said to first have shown the beauty of the present Landa Park to Prince Solms-Braunfels. The grounds cloaked by these trees also provided picnic areas for the students of the late Dr. Seele, one of the earliest educators of Texas.

Of course, there was music at the event with the orchestra conducted by Carl Hehmsoth.

Earlier in the day, prior to the ground-breaking, mass choruses of male singers directed by Carl Hehmsoth, Alfred Schaefer, and Otto Seidel filled the park with their music.

It was a most successful German Day Fete. Now all were waiting for the creation and unveiling of the German Pioneer Monument.

This column is based on the book New Braunfels’ Historic Landa Park, Its Springs and Its People by Rosemarie Leissner Gregory and Arlene Krueger Seales.  For more info visit www.friendsforlandapark.org and Facebook. You may call Jo Heideman @ 830-625-3186 to obtain a book.

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