Old Courthouse 1901 Old Courthouse 2002

Palo Alto College

San Antonio, Texas

SMALL TOWN HISTORY: BOERNE

 

 

Alfonso Cruz & Armando Alvarado Fall 2002
History 1302 Hines

 

ORIGINS:

Boerne actually had its beginning in Europe as the Industrial Revolution of the 1770ís began to make social and economic changes in the lives of ordinary people. America and France had their own revolutions against unfair taxation and the monarchy type of government. Germany was still operating under a totalitarian system of government, which included a loosely knit confederation of provinces that were tied in with Austrian Empire. There were numerous pseudo-independent municipalities or kingdoms within the system that were ruled by a prince or nobleman with dictatorial authority. Control of religion was dictated by the state.
Germany was plagued with over-population. There was barely enough farmland to raise food for the masses because of the Industrial Revolution was squeezing out the small farmers. Jobs were scarce, laborers poorly paid, taxes were high and there was widespread poverty. Most educated professionals were paid "in kind", meaning that their salaries were not money, but exchanges of food, clothing and lodging. Young girls had no voice about anything that happened to them and could only hope for marriage or a governess position, depending on their status. Young men had no place to go unless they inherited their fatherís business or land. There was a system of primogeniture in Germany where only the eldest son inherited the family wealth. By law, most farms could not be divided, so there was no sharing. Young boys and students, who had absolutely no chance of inheriting, were starving themselves to struggle through a University with little hope in sight for anything but a scarce living at best.The times saw political unrest, revolutions, military conscription and the oppressive rule of the church.
Young students, Germans writers and intellectuals who dared to oppose the present system were imprisoned or forced into political exile. As word of the newly gained privileges in France sifted across central Europe, the Germans also began to talk about religious, political, and economic freedom and a more representative government.
One of the most vociferous advocates of reform was a brilliant but frail and sickly young Jew named Lob Buruch who was born in Frankfort, May 22, 1786. He later changed his name to Ludwig Borne. Ludwig Borne was among the so-called "radical young German liberals" He was the first German journalist whose writings exclusively criticized the political order of Germany. Borne became too critical of the German system in his penetrating and cleverly structured writings and was forced to flee to Paris in 1819 when authorities threatened him with incarceration.
Borne, who later changed his name to Boerne, continued his attack on the German hierarchy as a theatrical critic and play writer whose works were eagerly sought throughout Germany. Many believers followed in his footsteps and move to the Americas to what is now known at Corpus Christi, later to San Antonio and then Boerne, ready to start a new life.

"FOUNDING FATHER"

Ludwig Boerne

Ludwig, Boerne

Links to Boerne Maps

Map1    Map2

Legend of the haunted Library

Library

As told by Doris Wall a resident of Boerne, TX. Long ago before the library opened its doors to the public it used to be a saloon. There was a woman that hated this place because her husband would go to the saloon and get so drunk he would beat on her.
This woman lived her life in torment. After a time, the saloon became a drug store, then it turned into the public library. On the opening of the library wine and food where served as the opening celebration. The next morning when the librarian went to open the library she saw that all the books where piled up in the middle of the room. To this day people who work there say they hear noises where the bar stood. Many people think itís the ghost of this abused woman that still lives in the library, and get angry when liquor is found inside the library.



HISTORICAL LANDMARK: Historic Obelisk 1881

Few people today are aware of the historic obelisk on Malakopf Mountain overlooking Boerne. In 1881 a group of Boerne Valley friends and relatives of Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig Von Herff met on the mountain East of town to dedicate a 12 foot rock monument to Dr. Herff, who not only was a big land owner in the area, but he was directly involved with the early support and development of the Boerne Community.
As a visionary physician and surgeon, Dr. Herff was instrumental in the building of St. Mary's Sanitarium in Boerne, as an adjunct to Santa Rosa Hospital of San Antonio. Also, Dr. Herff gave several miles of right-of-way to the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad when it came to the Hill Country in 1887.
After 70 years of weather exposure and vandalism, the original rock obelisk had deteriorated to the extent that Doctors John B. and Ferdinand Peter Herff, grandsons of Ferdinand Ludwig Von Herff, had it completely rebuilt with limestone blocks in 1952 Among the newspapers and locomotive pictures that were hermetically sealed in the monument vault, the grandsons also included a bottle of Lone Star Beer which they thought their grandfather would have enjoyed.
Malakopf Mountain is on a privately owned ranch and is not accessible to the public. However, the Obelisk can be seen on a clear day NE of Blanco Road from a location about 1.2 miles east of the Boerne High School



Blacks in Boerne

First Black School in Boerne

This was the first Negro school in Boerne. The one-room schoolhouse only accommodated the teacher and two Negro pupils. Boerne was and still is mainly populated by white German and American settlers, with very few blacks in Boerne history. This school was built after Boerne residents rejected integration of the two pupils with white elementary students in a special election on August, which won by a vote of 183 to 146. However the family moved to San Antonio so they can attend junior high and high school, later returning to Boerne.

Click here to see a Negro School roster

In this roster you can see the age and number of students attending in 1901, it also shows the pay given to the teachers.


 


OLDEST BIBLE IN BOERNE

The 1614 Low German Bible

1614 Low German Bible 1 of 7 in the world
ZOOM

For many years a battered-Looking, old bible sat in a closet at the Boerne High School on Johns Road, wrapped in a cloth for protection. It remained there, slowly decaying, until the librarian rediscovered it as she was cleaning the closet shelves. Today the Bible has been identified as a rare, illustrated folio volume, a 1614 Low German version of Martin Lutherís translation.
One of only seven known in the world, and the only 1614 Low German Bible known to have parchment covers, the Bible, with all its surrounding mysteries, is on display at the Boerne Public Library.



Technology in Boerne

Technology is rapidly changing Boerne, from once a small town to now a suburb of San Antonio. Train was the main form of transportation from Boerne to any other place in Texas.
Boerne only has one train station, later with the development of cars and the highway it was easier to trade and do business with other cities like San Antonio. This had created many changes in the community and how the buildings in Boerne look. Many of the building are made to match the old limestone that made most of the town back when it was founded. Example is this pictures below of the smokehouse and next to it the new building in the similar style of stone and color.

Smokehouse in 1901 Smokehouse in 2002

As you can see the building on the right was built to match the old smokehouse on the left.
This has also happened with the new courthouse and almost all other buildings, except the new retail stores.






WEB LINKS:

Boerne History

Boerne Homepage

Kendall County Texas

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Internet Webpages

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/index.new.html

http://www.ci.boerne.tx.us.html

http://www.rootsweb.com/~txkendal/bahps.htm

Interviews

Harvey G. Adam

Doris Wall

Louise Davis

Historical Books

Historic Images of Boerne, Texas 1982 by Garland A. Perry

An American Saga by Garland Perry, William George Hughes 1859-1902

Handouts and Brochures

Our Heritage handout

County Courthouse handout

The Journey to Boerne, Finding and Making a new home brochure

1614 Low German Bible brouchure

G.S.K.C. Genealogical Society of Kendall County

Theis House brochure

Step Back into the History of Boerne and the Texas Hill Country

 

Email Mando or Alfonso at darkparadox100@hotmail.com
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