It’s almost here! We are referring to the year 2020 that brings with it New Braunfels’ 175th celebration of its founding. With that in mind, Tim Barker, PhD, has arranged an exceptional guest speaker who is an officer on staff of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce to share some exciting 175th anniversary plans with us. Tell us more, Tim!
Why immigrate to Texas?
By Tim Barker, PhD
Ever since the end of the last Ice Age (15,000 years ago), individuals have immigrated to or through this area (Texas) via the El Camino Real Route with a stop-over at the largest springs in southwestern North-America — the Comal Springs. These springs are consistent with some of the earliest human habitation sites in North America. Artifacts and features reveal that Paleo-Indians were occupants of the site more than 13,000 years ago. Eight thousand years ago, the Archaic Indians inhabited this area. Europeans further blazed this route. Settlement of the Western part of North America was at its infancy in the first half of the 1800s. The territory known as Texas was originally part of Mexico. Texas gained independence from Mexico following the Battle of San Jacinto and the Republic of Texas was founded in 1836 and existed until 1845 when Texas was annexed into the United States of America.
In hopes of establishing a trading partner with the U.S., German aristocrats in 1842 formed the Adelsverein, a Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas. In 1845, the Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels was sent as a representative of this society at which time he purchased 1,265 acres of land from the Veramendi heirs. In 1844 German immigrants started to arrive on the Gulf Coast of Texas. On March 21, 1845, the first wagon with immigrants crossed the Guadelupe River and camped above Comal Creek (the current site of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church).
Individuals leave their birth country or state in hopes of improving their lives. The German immigrants traveled for months in small ships under very stressful conditions of occupancy. There were promises, but no guarantees of what they would experience once they arrived in New Braunfels. They all gave their best effort despite many significant challenges.
Fortunately, some 175 years later in 2020, New Braunfels is celebrating the founding of this wonderful community. This community has welcomed early as well as current settlers. The 175th Celebration inspires us to assimilate and integrate as immigrants. Judy Young, Vice President of the Convention, Visitors Bureau for the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, will remind us of this heritage at the 2:30 p.m. open meeting on Sept. 9, 2019 of Friends for the Preservation of Historic Landa Park at the Landa Haus, 360 Aquatic Circle in Landa Park. Newcomers are especially encouraged to attend. The full schedule for the 175th Celebration is posted at www.since1845.com. Each month, the 2020 is choreographed to recognized and honor our New Braunfels heritage.
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 information visit www.friendsforlandapark.org and Facebook.