Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas
East end of downtown Fredericksburg

Nickname(s): Fritztown, The Burg

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
  Mayor Linda Langerhans
  City Manager Kent Myers
  Total 8.6 sq mi (22.3 km2)
  Land 8.6 sq mi (22.2 km2)
  Water 0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 1,693 ft (516 m)
Population (2010)
  Total 10,530
  Density 1,227/sq mi (473.9/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 (German: Friedrichsburg) is the seat of Gillespie County, in the U.S. state of Texas.[3] As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 10,530.[4]

Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Old-time German residents often referred to Fredericksburg as Fritztown, a nickname that is still used in some businesses.[5] The town is also notable as the home of Texas German, a dialect spoken by the first generations of German settlers who initially refused to learn English. Fredericksburg shares many cultural characteristics with New Braunfels, which had been established by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels the previous year. Fredericksburg is the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. It is the sister city of Montabaur, Germany.[6] On October 14, 1970, the Fredericksburg Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Texas.[7]


Fredericksburg is located east of the center of Gillespie County at 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30.274058°N 98.871822°W / 30.274058; -98.871822 (30.274058, −98.871822).[8] It is 70 miles (110 km) north of San Antonio and 78 miles (126 km) west of Austin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.3 km2), of which 8.6 square miles (22.2 km2) are land and 0.05 square miles (0.12 km2), or 0.55%, are water.[9]

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock is a geographical landmark 17 miles (27 km) north of Fredericksburg in Llano County. The rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome that rises 425 feet (130 m) above the surrounding land, has a summit elevation of 1,825 feet (556 m) above sea level, and covers 640 acres (260 ha). It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States, and was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1970. In 1994, the State of Texas opened it as Enchanted Rock State Natural Area after adding facilities. The same year, Enchanted Rock was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[10][11]

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock was a famous local landmark that perched atop Bear Mountain 10 mi (16 km) north of Fredericksburg.[12] The natural wonder stone pillar, about the size of a small elephant, precariously balanced on its small tip.[13] It fell prey to vandals who dynamited it off its base in April 1986.[14][15]

Cross Mountain

The first known record of Cross Mountain (elevation 1,915 feet (584 m)) was in 1847 by Dr. Ferdinand von Roemer. Native Americans used the location to signal each other about intrusions into their territory. The area was part of settler Dr. John Christian Durst's 10-acre (4.0 ha) allotment. Durst found a timber cross on the mountain, indicating that Spanish missionaries had once used the site. Durst named the place "Kreuzberg" or Cross Mountain. In 1849, Father George Menzel erected a new cross. In 1946, St. Mary's Catholic Church erected a metal and concrete cross. The mountain has been used both for the Easter Fires pageant and for Easter sunrise services. It was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1976.[16]



The Vereins Kirche, the Pioneer Museum Complex, Pioneer Memorial Library, and other architecture.

Churches and religion

Nimitz Hotel and National Museum of the Pacific War


On January 3, 1913, the San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway was chartered to connect Fredericksburg with the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway near Waring.[17] A 920-foot (280 m) long railroad trestle was built, and still exists as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Old Tunnel bat habitat at 10619 Old San Antonio Rd, with provided picnic and restroom facilities for visitors.[18] The cost of the tunnel sent the railroad into receivership on October 28, 1914.[19] It was sold under foreclosure on December 31, 1917 to Martin Carle who deeded the property to the Fredericksburg and Northern Railway which had been chartered on December 26 of that year. The train operated until July 27, 1942.[20][21]


The Fredericksburg-Stonewall area has become known as the Peach Capital of Texas [22] and Benjamin Lester Enderle is known as the Father of the Hill Country Peach Industry. He was Gillespie County Surveyor and a math and science teacher at Fredericksburg High School when he planted five peach trees and began selling the fruit in 1921. Enderle worked to develop the Hale, Burbank, Elberta, and Stark varieties. He began marketing them through the H-E-B grocery chain, and eventually had 5,000 producing peach trees on 150 acres (61 ha).[23] Growers claim the taste[24] is due to the area having the right combination of elevation, sandy soil, and climate to produce flavorful clingstone and freestone peaches. The fruit ripens May–August, and consumers can either buy picked fruit, or pick their own.[25]

Herb farms,[26] grape culture, lavender production and wildflower seeds have become burgeoning businesses in Fredericksburg. Combinations of agribusiness with day spas, wedding facilities, or bed-and-breakfast accommodations are not unusual.[27] Even a Texas Hill Country Lavender Trail has been designated.[28]

Lady Bird Johnson's passion for Texas wildflowers not only lives on in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, but she also sparked a high demand for seed.[29] The 200-acre (81 ha) Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg was founded by John R. Thomas in 1983 as a result of that high demand, and produces 88 varieties of wildflower seeds. It is the largest family-owned wildflower seed farm in the United States and host of an annual Wildflower Celebration.[22][30][31]

In 1994, the Seventy-third Texas Legislature passed H.B. No. 1425, allowing brewpub operations within the state of Texas.[32] Fredericksburg Brewing Company began operations shortly thereafter.[33] A number of vineyards and related industry have also arisen in the post-LBJ era of Fredericksburg.[34] 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.[35] Fredericksburg is a common starting point or destination for tourists visiting wineries in the Texas Hill Country.[36][37]


The city of Fredericksburg is served by the Fredericksburg Independent School District. The school's teams are called the "Battlin' Billies".[38]

The first institute of higher learning in Fredericksburg was Fredericksburg College in 1876. The German Methodist Church of Fredericksburg founded the institution and offered courses in the arts, sciences, and foreign languages. Enrollment was about 150 students. W. J. R. Thoenssen was the first principal, succeeded by Charles F. Tansill. Finances caused the college to be closed in 1884. The property was sold to Fredericksburg Independent School District.[39]

For higher education, Fredericksburg is home to Texas Tech University at Fredericksburg.[40]

It also has some private schools, such as:

  • Ambleside School of Fredericksburg[41]
  • Fredericksburg Christian School[42]
  • Heritage Family School[43]
  • St. Mary's Elementary and Junior High School

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

Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools

Headquartered in Fredericksburg, the Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools is a group of former students and members of the community, interested in preserving the traditions of the old country schools, the community clubs, and the history of Gillespie County for future generations.[44]


Hill Country Memorial Hospital on Highway 16 is an acute-care facility that offers medical care, preventive care, and a wellness center. It is consistently ranked in the top 100 hospitals in the nation.[45]


Major roads


Gillespie County Airport[46] (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 (1,525 m) long runway and a hotel and diner. The airport was established by Hans Hannemann and Red Schroeder. Prior to 1945, the facility had been owned by the United States Army Air Corps. Transient and long-term hangar rentals are available.[47][48]


Fredericksburg experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and a generally mild winters. Average temperatures range from 82 °F (28 °C) in the summer to 49 °F (9 °C) during winter.

Climate data for Fredericksburg, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
Average high °F (°C) 61
Daily mean °F (°C) 49
Average low °F (°C) 36
Record low °F (°C) −5
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.36
Source: The Weather Channel[49]


Historical population
Est. 201611,382[50]8.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[51]

As of the census[1] of 2000, 8,911 people, 3,784 households, and 2,433 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,342.1 people per square mile (518.2/km2). The 4,183 housing units averaged 630.0 per square mile (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. Hispanics or Latinos 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%.[52]. In terms of ancestery, 39.7% were of German, 12.5% were of Irish, 10.8% were of English, 4.9% were of American, 3.2% were of Scotch-Irish, 2.3% were of Scottish, 2.3% were of Dutch.

Of the 3,784 households, 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 not families. About 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 distributed as 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 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.


The city of Fredericksburg is run under the council-manager form of government. As per the Home Rule Charter adopted May 1991,[53] the governing body of Fredericksbug consists of a mayor and four council members. Both the mayor and the council are elected in alternating years by the city at large for two-year terms with a limit of four consecutive terms.[54]


Linda Langerhans[55]

Council Members

  • Charlie Kiehne
  • Gary Neffendorf
  • Graham Pearson [56]
  • Bobby Watson

Media communications


AM Radio station KNAF went on the air in 1947. The original license was granted by the Federal Communications Commission to Arthur Stehling.[57] The license was transferred to Norbert Fritz and family.[58]


The Fredericksburg Standard was originally titled Gillespie County News and founded in 1888. The name change happened in 1907. The paper was purchased by the Fredericksburg Publishing Company in 1915, which also published the German language newspaper Fredericksburg Wochenblatt. The Radio Post began publishing in 1922 and was purchased in 1984 by the Fredericksburg Publishing Company. The two newspapers merged into the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post.[59][60]

  • Film:
  • Music:
    • "Stoned" (1995) a song by Old 97's advises 'Take a Greyhound to Fredericksburg'
    • "Chester Nimitz Oriental Garden Waltz" (1988) a song by the Austin Lounge Lizards
    • Grammy-winning blues artist Johnny Nicholas runs the Hill Top Cafe on US87 near Fredericksburg in a 1930s former gas station[61]
  • Books:
    • Gurasich, Mari (1994). A House Divided. Texas Christian University Press. ISBN 978-0-87565-122-4.  During the Civil War, young Louisa is the youngest daughter in a German household in Fredericksburg. One brother has been killed by Confederate vigiliantes James P. Waldrip and Die Haengebande, and the other brother is in a Union prison.
    • Gimenez, Mark (2009). The Perk. Sphere. ISBN 978-0-7515-3967-7.  Lawyer Beck Hardin returns to his hometown of Fredericksburg after the death of his wife, helping to solve an old crime.
  • Comedy:
    • Bill Hicks referenced Fredericksburg in the bit "Gifts of Forgiveness" which was included on his 1997 posthumously released comedy album Rant In E-Minor
  • Radio:
    • Walter de Paduwa on his Dr Boogie radio show of 11/11/2016 described (in French) his 1990s visit to Fredericksburg eating sauerkraut at 35 degrees, and seeing the Nimitz statue but summing up with the somewhat sweeping advice N'allez jamais a Fredericksburg. Il n'y a RIEN a voir a Frederiksburg (Never go to Fredericksburg. There is NOTHING to see at Fredericksburg).[62]

Notable people

Notable people of Fredericksburg, Texas
Name Birth-death Notability Ref(s)
Jacob Bickler (1849–1902) Educator, founder of two Austin academies, taught summer school in Frederickburg [63]
Jacob Friedrich Brodbeck (1821–1910) Educator, aviation pioneer [64]
Amanda Julia Estill (1882–1965) Educator, writer, and folklorist [65]
Matthew Gaines (1840–1900) Former slave, Baptist minister became a senator in the Texas State Legislature after emancipation [66]
General Michael W. Hagee (b. 1944) 33rd Commandant of the United States Marine Corps [67]
Max Hirsch (1880–1969) National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame thoroughbred horse trainer [68]
Betty Holekamp (1826–1902) German colonist and pioneer woman, called the Betsy Ross of Texas [69]
1st Lt. Louis John Jordan (1890–1918) First Texan officer killed in World War I, Battalion C, 149th Field Artillery, 42nd Division, posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1924, All-American football player with Texas Longhorns (1911–1914), the Louis Jordan Post of the American Legion in Fredericksburg named in his honor [70]
Hugo Emil Klaerner (1908–1982) Chicago White Sox pitcher [71]
Guich Koock (b. 1944) Actor, humorist, folklorist, business person, owner of Oma Koock's Restaurant (now Hondo's on Main), one-time owner of Luckenbach [72]
Jacob Kuechler (1823–1893) Surveyor, conscientious objector during the Civil War, and commissioner of the Texas General Land Office [73]
Lara Logan (b. 1971) 60 Minutes Correspondant [74]
Hermann Lungkwitz (1813–1891) Landscape artist and photographer, noted for first pictorial records of the Texas Hill Country [75]
John O. Meusebach (1812–1897) Founding father of Fredericksburg [76]
Henry Miller (IBEW) (1853–1896) First Grand President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) [77]
William Molter (1910–1960) Thoroughbred trainer in National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame [78]
Chester Emil Nagel (1911–2004) Architect [79]
Lieut. Phillip I. Neel (1979–2007) First Fredericksburg soldier to die in Iraq, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas [80]
Charles Henry Nimitz (1826–1911) Built the Nimitz Hotel in 1852, grandfather of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, elected to the Texas Legislature in 1890 [81]
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz (1885–1966) Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Forces in World War II [82]
Friedrich Richard Petri (1824–1857) Painter who depicted relationships between early German settlers and local Native American tribes [83]
Colonel Alfred P. C. Petsch (1887–1981) Lawyer, legislator, civic leader, and philanthropist, served in the Texas House of Representatives 1925–1941, veteran of both World War I and World War [84]
County Judge Victor H. Sagebiel (1917–1977) United States Navy World War II veteran and civic leader, a fountain in the downtown plaza across from Pioneer Memorial Library honors him [85]
Felix Stehling (1925–2012) Co-founder of Taco Cabana [86]
Buffy Tyler (b. 1978) Playboy Playmate November 2000 [87]
Frank Van der Stucken (1858–1929) Music composer, conductor [88]
Private Sammie J. Vollmar (1947–1967) United States Marine Corps died June 1, 1967, becoming the first soldier from Gillespie County killed in the Vietnam War [89]
Hulda Saenger Walter (1867–1929) Poet, writer of German verse [90]
Susan Weddington (b. 1951) State chairman of the Republican Party of Texas from 1997 to 2003, retired in Fredericksburg [91]

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  • King, Irene Marschall (1967). John O.Meusebach. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-73656-6. 
  • Solms, Carl; Gish, Theodore G; Von-Maszweski, Wolfram M (2000). Voyage to North America, 1844–45: Prince Carl of Solms' Texas Diary of People, Places, and Events. University of North Texas Press. ISBN 978-1-57441-124-9. 
  • Morgenthaler, Jefferson (2007). The German Settlement of the Texas Hill Country. Mockingbird Books. ISBN 978-1-932801-09-5. 

Further reading

  • Cook, Rita; Dandridge, Russell W (2011). Fredericksburg: A Guide to the Attractions and German Heritage of Texas Hill Country. Channel Lake, Inc. ISBN 978-1-935455-13-4. 
  • Gillespie County Historical Society (2000). Pioneers in God's Hills. Eakin Pr. ISBN 978-1-57168-463-9. 
  • Hafertepe, Kenneth (2016). The Material Culture of German Texans. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-62349-383-7 via Project MUSE. 
  • Hubbard, Fran; Hubbard, Doug; Ethel, Lee (1995). St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg, Texas, the First Forty Years, 1954–1994. Awani Press, Inc. 
  • Johnson, Melvin C (2006). Polygamy on the Pedernales: Lyman Wight's Mormon Villages in Antebellum Texas 1845–1858. Utah State University Press. ISBN 978-0-87421-628-8. 
  • King, Irene Marschall (1987). John O. Meusebach: German Colonizer in Texas. Univ of Texas Pr. ISBN 978-0-292-74019-8. 
  • Potter, E B (2008). Nimitz. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-580-6. 
  • Watt, Don; Watt, Lynn; Mehl, Michael (1987). Fredericksburg, Texas: Living With the Past. Shearer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-940672-42-0. 
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