Historical Preservation Committee
- 6:30 PM
- The 4th Thursday of January, April, July, and October
- Bob Andrews Conference Room Bldg.1
AGENDAS & MINUTES
Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
|Elizabeth Strong, Chair||May 31, 2020|
|Dean Weirtz, Vice Chair||May 31, 2020|
|Paul Ringenbach, Treasurer||May 31, 2021|
|Debbie Krause, Member||May 31, 2020|
|Sue Boissonneault, Member||May 31, 2020|
|Pete Perez, Member||May 31, 2021|
|Dean Midlick, Member||May 31, 2020|
|John Baker, Member||May 31, 2021|
|Rozalyn Wise, Member||May 31, 2021|
|Letticia Sever, Member||May 31, 2020|
|Daniel Bourgeois, Member||May 31, 2021|
|Sabrina Allen, Member||May 31, 2021|
|Robert Crawford, Associate Non-Voting Member|
|Judy Womack, Associate Non-Voting Member|
Volunteers can contact Elizabeth Strong at (972) 768-7985.
We are a small group of 14 Schertz volunteers interested in preserving the historic remnants of our city’s rich past. The City’s heritage dates back to the mid-19th century and the arrival of the first European settlers to the Cibolo River Valley.
The committee has two publications on local history available for sale. "Schertz, Texas: The Story of Great Ancestry, Legacy, and Development" is available for $15, and "Schertz, Texas: A Photo History" is available for $25. These books can be viewed and purchased at the Schertz Public Library, Schertz Visitor Center, and Schertz City Hall Water Department.
- City Historical Place Designation
- Historical Archive Collection
- Historical Church and Cemetery Designation
- Community Outreach
- Historical Museum Development
- Schertz Historical Research Project
On October 22, 2019, the City Council approved the designation of the Comal Settlement as the third official Heritage Neighborhood within the Schertz city limits. The Comal Settlement is situated along a three-mile stretch of FM 482, originating in the east at the border of the community of Solms, Texas where the Union Pacific Railroad crosses Highway 482, and in the west at the intersection of Hubertus Road and FM 482. The neighborhood is bordered on the north and south by separate Union Pacific Railroad tracks that run from east to west.
Comal Settlement, originally called Wenzel, was established between 1846 and 1849 and was one of the first rural farming communities created by founding families of New Braunfels, Texas. The cultivation of cotton as a cash crop brought economic prosperity to the settlement. The economic circumstance allowed for an expansion of the small town’s infrastructure by building its first cotton gin, a corn shelling plant, a grain warehouse, and a Catholic chapel, as well as the expansion of the community’s school from a single to a multi-room structure.
In 1881, the International & Great Northern Railroad began transport through the Settlement, followed by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company in 1901. These railroads provided vital economic assists to the community when “cotton was king.” The Settlement was geographically placed amidst the historic roadway known as Kings Highway (a trail believed to have originally been blazed in around 1691). A portion of Kings Highway as it passes through the area has also been known as Post Road. Today, the road is known as FM 482. This road and its supporting artery, Nacogdoches Road, are part of the national historic El Camino de Los Tejas Trail. The Trail was used by Native Americans traversing the Texas Plains as well as Colonial Spanish missionaries and military troops traveling from Mexico to northeast Texas Territory. FM 482, originally a dirt pathway, was reconstructed between 1915 and 1917 as the first Texas joint Comal County and US Federal project.
Most of the original structures of the Comal Settlement still stand, though in need of some repair. These include:
The Schwab/Wenzel Blacksmith Shop, circa 1880, and Mechanical Shops, circa 1915. The settlement’s first blacksmith shop was established by Peter Ignatz Wenzel and later taken over by Bruno Schwab, grandson of Valentin Joseph Schwab, one of the Settlement’s original founders after whom Schwab Road is named.
Wenzel/St. Joseph’s Cemetery, circa 1884. The cemetery land was donated by Peter Ignatz Wenzel’s widow upon his death in 1884, and it has been designated as a Historic Texas Cemetery by the Texas Historical Commission. The cemetery is the final resting place for many important Schertz settler families, including members of the Friesenhahn, Hubertus, Kneupper, Marbach, Reininger, Riedel, Rittimann, Schwab, and Wenzel families, as well as Hispanic laborers who worked in the area. Markers on several of the graves are labeled in German, including the common phrase "Hier ruht in Gott" (Here rests in God) and the abbreviations "Geb." for "geboren" (born, used either for birth dates or maiden names) and "Gest." for "gestorben" (died).
The foundation of a private parochial school on two acres of land that were donated July 28, 1886 by Peter Ignatz Wenzel.
The Settlement’s cotton gin and corn shelling plant, circa 1890s. Built by sons of
Antonius (Anton) and Anna Maria Friesenhahn, original settlers, the original gin burnt down and another was constructed in the 1890s, which continued operation until 1940. This building is still standing on the Roman Friesenhahn family farm.
St. Joseph’s Chapel, circa 1905. The Chapel is of German architectural origins. Its interior was totally restored in 2010-2011, and it is recognized both as a designated Schertz Historic Landmark Property and on the National Registry Listing of Historic Places.
The Kneupper General Store, circa 1907.
The Ferdinand Friesenhahn home, circa 1911.
The Kneupper family home, circa 1920.
Danville School House, circa 1920. The schoolhouse represents the first building within the Settlement devoted to education. The original school consisted of two buildings; only one remains, which has been converted to a private residence.
The Alamo Schuetzen Verein (shooting club) facility, circa 1940. The club first began on an informal basis in approximately 1893 and utilized various farm sites within the Settlement to hold its competitions. An import from the German homeland, the Schuetzen Verein was a popular sporting and social outlet for German immigrants throughout south-central Texas.
The continued existence of these sites is a testament to the resilience of the German immigrants who came to call this area their home. Taken together, they represent the full range of immigrant life, work, worship, learning, and recreation. The Historical Preservation Committee is proud to be able to recognize this historic community with the distinction of Heritage Neighborhood.
Schertz Main Street Area Preservation Incentive Program
In order to facilitate the preservation of historic structures to promote the economic vitality of the Main Street area as a tourist destination, the City of Schertz is offering incentives that will serve to improve existing properties and businesses within this area.
Matching funds up to $20,000 per property are available for the cost of renovations. The aim of the program is to protect, enhance, and preserve the historic resources and landmarks which represent distinctive element of the City of Schertz’ historic, architectural, economic, cultural, and social heritage by providing property owners an incentive for protecting their property; stabilize and improve property values; foster civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of the past, and to promote the use of the historic structures for the culture, education, and general welfare of residents, and strengthen the economy of the city by protecting and enhancing the attractiveness of the Main Street area to residents and visitors, as well as provide support and stimulus to businesses.
For additional information on eligibility requirements see the following: