Vintage photos show Fredericksburg just 50 years after it was founded in the mid 1800s

FREDERICKSBURG, Texas – Vintage photos give an insight in the history of Fredericksburg, which was founded by German immigrants on May 8, 1846.

The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Digital Collection has a wealth of photographs showing the town’s history, with photos dating back to the 1890s — just 50 years after the town was founded.

According to Fredericksburg’s history, the town was founded under the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas by John O. Meusebach who named the settlement Friedrichsburg, later changed to Fredericksburg, to honor Prince Frederick of Prussia.

“Settlers received lots in town with an additional 10 acre lot outside of town. The colonists planted corn, built storehouses to protect their provisions and trade goods, and prepared for the arrival of more immigrants, who came throughout the summer. By 1850, census records stated that the town had 754 residents, and Gillespie County had 1,235 residents,” the city of Fredericksburg website states.

Here’s a look back at some of the town’s rich history:


Bird’s-eye view of Fredericksburg, Texas, from St. Mary’s Church. Photograph shows Vereins-Kirche (left center) and the Gillespie County Courthouse (right). Circa 1890. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
Photograph shows school children, with front row of boys, seated, holding flags on the ground; behind them is a row of girls holding flowers, and behind that row are five men and a group of older students holding flags. School children, in uniform, in front of the Vereins Kirche, Fredericksburg, Texas, ca. 1896. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
Parade during 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of the town, Fredericksburg, Texas, 1896. Photograph shows a horse and carriage parade passing through a cedar arch. The Maier Building, right, when it was a bank. Photo taken from the Vereins Kirche. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)


Photograph shows bird’s-eye view of the parade–including horse-drawn floats, carriages, and buggies–on San Saba (later Main) Street. A. L. Patton Building second building on right. Fourth of July Parade, Fredericksburg, Texas, 1905. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
Photograph shows group of women on stage and men seated in chairs on floor below stage in the in the Nimitz Hotel, where plays and dances were held. Casino Club event in the Nimitz Hotel, Fredericksburg, Texas. Circa 1905-1910. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
Photograph shows horse-drawn wagons in the street in front of the two-story limestone building. Exterior of R. M. Burrier & Company, Fredericksburg, Texas, early 1900s. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
Photograph shows the open square with Reliance Flour Mill (Felix Vander Stucken & Son Roller Mill) on north side near the Felix Vander Stucken house (far right). Reliance Flour Mill and Public Square, Fredericksburg, Texas, early 1900s. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)


Boys outside Public School, Fredericksburg, Texas, ca. 1910. Photograph shows the public school with rows of students posed outside. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
Saloon interior with bartender and customer near table with display of Christmas candy, Fredericksburg, Texas, ca. 1910s. Photograph shows bar on left. On right is table of boxed candy under a banner that reads: “Headquarters for Christmas Candies.” (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
Photograph shows (l. to r.) Temple D. Smith; August Cameron; Oscar Krauskopf; and Jacob (Fatty) Knapp, members of the Fredericksburg Railroad Committee who were instrumental in raising the funds to start the railroad construction. Local businessmen outside Chamber of Commerce office, Fredericksburg, Texas, ca. 1913. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)


Photograph shows the exterior of the stone house that was used by a rural family for overnight stays when attending Sunday church and social events. Front (southwest elevation) and side of the Staudt Sunday House, 512 W. Creek Street, Fredericksburg, Texas, 1934 (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)
East (side) elevation of Heinrich G. Dietz House, Creek and Bowie Streets, Fredericksburg, Texas, 1936. Photograph shows the side of the limestone, log, and clapboard house with outside stairway leading to attic. (UTSA Libraries Special Digital Collections)

Related: View historic photos of Kerrville, including the original H-E-B

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