Fredericksburg, Texas: Wikis

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Fredericksburg, Texas
—  City  —

Seal
Location of Fredericksburg, Texas
Coordinates: 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30.27417°N 98.87194°W / 30.27417; -98.87194Coordinates: 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30.27417°N 98.87194°W / 30.27417; -98.87194
Country United States
State Texas
County Gillespie
Government
 - Mayor Jeryl Hoover
 - City Manager Gary Neffendorf
Area
 - Total 6.6 sq mi (17.2 km2)
 - Land 6.6 sq mi (17.2 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 1,693 ft (516 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 8,911
 Density 1,342.1/sq mi (518.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78624
Area code(s) 830
FIPS code 48-27348[1]
GNIS feature ID 1336174[2]

Fredericksburg is a city in Gillespie County, Texas, United States. The population was 8,911 at the 2000 census, and 10,432 in the 2005 census estimate. It is the county seat of Gillespie County.[3]

Contents

History

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19th century

Fredericksburg (German: Friedrichsburg) was founded in 1846 by Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach, new Commissioner General of the "Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas", also known as the "Noblemen's Society" (in German: Mainzer Adelsverein), and named in honor of Prince Frederick of Prussia, nephew of Prussia's King Frederick William III, and highest ranking member of the Mainzer Adelsverein. Old-time German residents often referred to Fredericksburg as Fritztown, a nickname that is still used in some businesses.

Bust of Baron von Meusebach in Fredericksburg Town Square

Baron von Meusebach renounced his noble title and became known in Texas as John O. Meusebach. Settled largely by liberal, educated Germans fleeing the failed Revolution of 1848, Gillespie County voted against secession prior to the American Civil War. Fredericksburg is also the home of the architect, Chester Nagel.

The town is also notable as the home of Texas German, a German dialect spoken by the first generations of settlers who initially refused to learn English. The German settlers of Fredericksburg acted independently of the region.

Meusebach's group brokered the 1847 Meusebach–Comanche Treaty that has been honored for over a century and a half, making it one of the very few treaties with Native American tribes that was never broken.[4]

Fredericksburg was an important part of the Pro-Union Texas resistance during the Civil War, facing ostracization from their neighbors who remained loyal to Texas. Its concentration of German-American settlers means that it shares many cultural characteristics with New Braunfels, another German Texan town.

20th century

Nimitz Museum

Fredericksburg was the birthplace of Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Forces in World War II. The hotel owned by Nimitz's grandfather has been converted into a museum, named the National Museum of the Pacific War honoring the men and women who served with Nimitz in the war. After the war, the Japanese government gave a Zen garden to the museum as a tribute to the Nimitz family.

The nearby much larger George Bush Gallery, which opened in 1999, is home to an I.J.N. Ko-hyoteki class midget submarine and an American B-25. The land for the Bush Gallery was bought from H-E-B Grocery. Money for the gallery was privately raised in the 1990s through the efforts of finance chairman Lee Bass and a board that included baseball star Nolan Ryan and Ernest Angelo, a former mayor of Midland. Admission tickets cover both museums.

Bush later reflected that "terrifying experiences" of war helped him to become a man: "I have often wondered why me, why was I spared when others died."[5]

The 33rd U.S. Marine Corps Commandant, General Michael W. Hagee, graduated from Fredericksburg High School. General Hagee graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. He also holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He is a graduate of the Command and Staff College and the U.S. Naval War College.

A fountain in the downtown plaza across from the Fredericksburg library honors civic leader Victor H. Sagebiel (1917–1977).

The first Texan officer killed in World War I was Louis John Jordan (1890–1918), a second lieutenant from Fredericksburg who was posthumously in 1924 awarded the Croix de Guerre. Private Sammy J. Vollmar (died June 1, 1967) was the first soldier from Gillespie County killed in the Vietnam War.

Geography

Fredericksburg is located at 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30.274058°N 98.871822°W / 30.274058; -98.871822 (30.274058, -98.871822).[6] This is about 63 miles (101 km) north of San Antonio and 67 miles (108 km) west of Austin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.6 square miles (17.2 km2), all of it land.

Northern Gillespie County is home to one of the state's best-known geographical landmarks, Enchanted Rock. The Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet (130 m) above ground, 1,825 feet (556 m) above sea level, and covers 640 acres (2.6 km2). It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States.

Balanced Rock [7] [8] was a famous local landmark that perched atop Bear Mountain in the Crabapple Community [9] The natural wonder stone pillar, about the size of a small elephant, precariously balanced on its small tip. Unfortunately it fell prey some decades ago to vandals who dynamited it off its base.

Demographics

Fredericksburg city limits sign

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 8,911 people, 3,784 households, and 2,433 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,342.1 people per square mile (518.2/km2). There were 4,183 housing units at an average density of 630.0/sq mi (243.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.08% White, 0.27% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.09% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.00% of the population. English is spoken by 72.73% of the population, Spanish by 14.77%, and Texas German by 12.48%.[10]

There were 3,784 households out of which 23.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.2% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 20.8% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 30.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 81.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,276, and the median income for a family was $43,670. Males had a median income of $25,878 versus $22,171 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,788. About 7.5% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 11.5% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Gillespie County Courthouse in Fredericksburg

The city of Fredericksburg is run under the Council-Manager form of government. As per the Home Rule Charter [2] the governing body of Fredericksbug consists of a Mayor and four council members. Both the mayor and the council are elected by the city at large.[11]

  • Mayor
    • Jeryl Hoover
  • Council Members
    • Jeff Jeffers
    • Kevin MacWithey
    • Tom Musselman (Mayor Pro Tem)
    • David Pedregon

Education

The city of Fredericksburg is served by the Fredericksburg Independent School District. The school's teams are called the "Battlin' Billies", with the mascot being a male angora goat. The "Billie" mascot originated because of the abundance of billy goats raised in this farming community, and because the image of a charging billy goat is well adapted to the game of football.

For higher education, Fredericksburg is home to Texas Tech University at Fredericksburg.

It also has some private schools, such as:

  • Ambleside School of Fredericksburg [12]
  • Fredericksburg Christian School [13]
  • Hertitage School [14]
  • St. Mary's Elementary and Junior High School [15]

Fredericksburg has a municipally-operated library adjacent to the Gillespie County Courthouse.

Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools [16] are former students and members of the community, interested in preserving the traditions of the schools, the community clubs, and the history of Gillespie County for future generations.

Tourism

Pioneer Village Museum in Fredericksburg occupied a new headquarters building in 2008.
The Bavarian Inn reflects the German heritage of Fredericksburg.
Main Street (Hauptstrasse)

The city has become a weekend destination for people in Central Texas, specifically those from Austin and San Antonio, who come for the bed and breakfasts, abundant hunting, fishing, antique stores, museums, the German influence in the form of bakeries, restaurants, stores, and peaches. Fredericksburg and the surrounding area are home to over 300 bed and breakfast accommodations. The nearby Wildseed Farms is also a popular destination for gardening enthusiasts. The Main Street located in the Historic District is the prime shopping district which attracts many out of town visitors.

Pioneer Church in Fredericksburg, or Vereins-Kirche Museum

Fredericksburg has a large open air Pioneer Museum [17] which underwent renovation in 2008. There is also the smaller Vereins-Kirche Museum, which accents German culture and local history, including Fredericksburg businesses as gasoline stations and Radio KNAF. "Vereins-Kirche" in German means "Society Church". This was hence the first public building constructed in 1847 by the original Fredericksburg settlers. The building models a style known as "Carolingian octagon," similar to the cathedral of Charlemagne at Aachen, Germany. Originally all denominations met at Vereins-Kirche".[18] The bell at Vereins-Kirche came from Brenham, Germany.

A big tourist draw that combines history and German tradition has been Fredericksburg's annual Easter Fires pageant [19] traditionally held the Saturday before Easter. It commemorates the signing of the 1847 Meusebach–Comanche Treaty when legend has it that Comanches celebrated the signing of the treaty by lighting huge fires on the hills. Settler mothers calmed their children by relating the traditional German story of Easter fires, and telling children the bunnies were boiling water to make eggs for Easter morning. The pageant was suspended in recent years due to logistics, but a group of citizens is trying to revive it.

Just east of Fredericksburg is the restored U.S. Army post, Fort Martin Scott, occupied from 1848-1853 to subdue the Indians.

Fredericksburg is also home to a unique form of residential architecture called "Sunday Houses, which were built by the early German settlers as weekend homes. Because a large majority of the county population lived in outlying areas, the settlers would use these homes while in town for the weekend; often to patronize local merchants and attend church services. The form of these houses often consisted of several rooms downstairs, with an upstairs sleeping loft that was accessed by an outside staircase.

Fredericksburg is home to an award-winning brewpub and is also located near the center of the wine industry in central Texas. The designated American Viticultural Areas of Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country AVA and the much larger Texas Hill Country AVA both include Fredericksburg inside their boundaries. Fredericksburg is a common starting point or destination for tourists visiting wineries in the Texas Hill Country.

Airport

Gillespie County Airport (FAA locator T82) is located on State Highway 16 South, about 2 miles (3.2 km) from downtown Fredericksburg, and features a 5,002 ft long runway [20] and a hotel and diner.

Newspaper

The local newspaper is called the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. Once two separate newspapers, the Fredericksburg Standard and Fredericksburg Radio Post, the Radio Post was bought by the Standard in October 1984 when the publication ceased publication because of the loss of advertising revenues.

Fredericksburg in culture

  • The song "Stoned" by Old 97's contains the instruction "Take a Greyhound to Fredericksburg."

Fredericksburg in religion

The large St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fredericksburg
Side view of the large Zion Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg
The pieta in St. Mary's Catholic Church
Inside the Zion Lutheran Church

Fredericksburg has particularly large Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches, befitting the German immigrants who arrived prior to the Civil War.

Zion Lutheran Church, founded by six families in 1852, is the oldest Lutheran Church in the Hill Country and one of the oldest in the state as well. By January 13, 1853, there were twelve founders who signed its articles of organization. The cornerstones for the church were set on March 6, 1854, and the first sanctuary was constructed of native limestone. Members of the young congregation provided most of the building materials as well as the labor. In 1884, improvements were made to the building. On June 12, 1908, an enlarged sanctuary was dedicated. Additions to the original 1853 structure included the bell tower and a new chancel. The cruciform and the baptistry were designed by Adolph Wehmeyer. The church contains a Thorwaldsen statue of Jesus Christ, which dominates the chancel, having also been unveiled in 1908. In 1953, under pastor G.W. Sager, an annex for Sunday school and a fellowship hall were constructed adjacent to the sanctuary. The church was most recently renovated in 1960, with the adding of air conditioning, lowering and enlarging the balcony, the installation of new pews, the replacement of the stained glass windows, and the rebuilding and enlargement of the pipe organ. In 1963, the church installed three bronze bells to call people to worship, having replaced the previous single cast iron bell.[21]

The nave windows of Zion Lutheran Church have special meanings:

  • The Christmas Window marks the humanity of Christ and his humble birth on earth.
  • The Holy Week Window portrays the institution of communion.
  • The Easter Window reveals new life through the resurrection of Christ.
  • The Trinity Window marks the concept of God in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

There are also churches of other Christian denominations in and about Fredericksburg.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Meredith, Howard L. A Short History of the Native Americans in the United States. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company, 2001: 31. ISBN 1-57524-139-0
  5. ^ Museum exhibit, Pacific Gallery, Fredericksburg, Texas
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ Playle's online auctions, Balanced Rock postcard http://www.playle.com/listing.php?PHPSESSID=evb0p1qghdkh2q2hqbifdq81o0&i=ETEXBILL5244 [http://www.mountainzone.com/mountains/detail.asp?fid=2925056
  8. ^ Mountain Zone, Balanced Rock Pillar http://www.mountainzone.com/mountains/detail.asp?fid=2925056
  9. ^ Tex Files, Tourin Texas, Crabapple Community [http://www.texfiles.com/tourintexas/july2003/crabapple/index.htm
  10. ^ Data Center Results
  11. ^ City Officials
  12. ^ Charlotte Mason: Ambleside Schools of Fredericksburg
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Heritage School - A Classical Approach
  15. ^ stmarys1846
  16. ^ Historic Schools, The Friends of Gillespie Country Schools http://www.historicschools.org/default.htm
  17. ^ Pioneer Museum http://pioneermuseum.net/
  18. ^ ""Vereins-Kirche" from The Handbook of Texas". tshaonline.org. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/VV/ccv1.html. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  19. ^ Texas Less Traveled, Easter Fires http://texaslesstraveled.com/easter_fires.htm
  20. ^ AirNav: T82 - Gillespie County Airport
  21. ^ Brochure, Zion Lutheran Church, 426 West Main St.l, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624
  22. ^ Brochure on church symbols, Zion Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg, Texas

External links


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