Fredericksburg’s Architectural Riches
Fredericksburg was founded close on the heels of New Braunfels. After the first Adelsverein settlement was established in the spring of 1845, John O. Meusebach left New Braunfels in August to establish a second settlement sixty miles to the northwest, named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. 120 settlers arrived in spring of 1846, each receiving one town lot and ten acres of nearby farmland.
Planners anticipated that farmers would reside in town and travel daily to their fields, as was the custom in Europe, but instead residents quickly adopted the Anglo-American model of isolated homesteads on their farmland. The town lots did not go to waste, however. Many families constructed what became known as “Sunday Houses” – simple one or two-room houses with lean-to kitchens that could be used during weekend trips to town for shopping, business, and church-going. Information about
Sunday Houses and other historic structures may be found in Old Homes and Buildings of Fredericksburg (1977) by Elise Kowert, compiled from a weekly series in the Fredericksburg Standard. The General Photograph Collection includes three images of Sunday Houses in Fredericksburg.
Perhaps the most iconic building in Fredericksburg is the Verein’s Kirche (Community Church). This octagonal structure was one of the first buildings constructed by settlers in 1847 and served as inter-denominational church, school, community hall, and fortress. The original structure was demolished in 1897, but an exact replica was constructed in 1934-35, which has since been used for a variety of purposes, including library, museum, and archives.
Fredericksburg is also the home of the National Museum of the Pacific War, which grew out of the Chester W. Nimitz Naval Museum, originally opened in 1967 to celebrate the WWII accomplishments of Admiral Nimitz, a Fredericksburg native. Even before the museum opened, Nimitz was beloved and honored in Fredericksburg, as evidenced by Fredericksburg’s Tribute to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, a 1945 spiral-bound booklet from the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce documenting an Oct. 13, 1945 welcome home celebration following the end of WWII.
Donell Kohout, Martin. “FREDERICKSBURG, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online(http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hff03), accessed July 07, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. Jordan, Terry G. “SUNDAY HOUSES,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/cfs01), accessed July 07, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.