Texas Small Town History Project
Palo Alto College
November 14, 2006
Twin Sisters, Texas
Origins: Twin Sisters is on the Little Blanco River and U.S. Highway 281, seven miles south of Blanco in southernmost Blanco County. The Germans began to settle in Twin Sisters in 1854 the first settler was said to be a man by the name of Joel Cherry, who was from Tennessee. It is said that the reason people began to settle there was because of a pair of hills that could be seen from miles around, and that is how it got its name Twin Sisters. By the late 1850's, Twin Sisters had begun to grow it began to be a settlement for Germans and English. Twin Sisters was settled on what is now Blanco County. They also founded the first post office in the area in 1856 when the homesteaders petitioned for the post office and received it. The post office was one of the first businesses established in the town.
Founders: Max Krueger was a very influential person in Twin Sisters. He seemed to have owned nearly half the town. In the 1890's, Twin Sisters has three general merchandise stores, a gristmill, and a cotton gin. Krueger owned the mill, the gin, and one of the stores. One man owned nearly half the town, and in his time in Twin Sisters, he brought more to this town then any other person. Krueger settled in Twin Sisters in 1875, with his family, and raised his children in Twin Sisters. Krueger was born in Pomeranian, Prussia where he was raised by his mother only. He contracted a lung disease as a young man, and he was advised by the doctor to live in a warmer climate. He decided to move to Texas, following his older brother Carl in 1868. He married Emily Buergener on December 25, 1870, and they had sixteen children, twelve of them lived to maturity. He raised his family in Twin Sisters, where he pretty much ran the whole town. In addition to pursuing his businesses, he was also the town's postmaster and the justice of the peace. Besides the gin, mill, and the store, he also built a bowling alley and a dance hall. I am sure he was the towns' favorite person, because he imported beer from St. Louis. We all know how much people loved beer and still love beer. Unfortunately, he was not able to import beer from St. Louis any longer, because the cost of beer became too high. He thought he would just invest in his own beer. He opened up a brewery nearby Twin Sisters to attempt to produce his own beer, but the plan failed because the facility was not cool enough. Because of a series of drunken brawls and shootouts, the dance hall and the other entertainment facilities were closed. A drought from 1894 through 1896 was seen as the breakdown of Twin Sisters. Many of the local farmers and ranchers were driven into bankruptcy. Krueger was also forced to sell out. This drought brought financial ruin to Krueger's family. They lost half of their livestock from the lack of water, and eventually lost all of their land. I see Krueger as the one most important persons in Twin Sisters. He built up the town of Twin Sisters. When he returned, he reopened the post office as a combined post office and general store. He was the postmaster and a merchant until the 1940's. The post office in Twin Sisters closed in 1951, after that their mail was sent to Blanco County. Twin Sisters Dance Hall
Stories: Twin Sisters Dance Hall is the most famous place in Twin Sisters. Max Krueger founded the dance hall in the 1870's. The dance hall is still open and operating to this day. They have a dance every Saturday of the month and for Christmas. People can also rent out the hall for special perform there. I am sure that the dance hall was the hot spot in the mid 1930's. When I visited Twin Sisters, I am so glad that I went during the day because the dance hall is hidden away behind lots of trees. As I drove up, I could just imagine coming for a dance. As you drive up this long driveway, you can see the dance hall around the back side of all these trees. The dance hall now looks just like it would look in the late 1800's. It is a light blue color and has all these windows surrounding the building. On the back side of the building, there is the word "BEER" written were the beer used to be distributed from the outside of the building. I could just imagine a long line outside the dance hall with young adults waiting in line for some beer from a keg. I do not see the town of Twin Sisters being in operation for more then twenty years, but I do see the dance hall being up and running. How many towns can say that they have a business that has been running for over 100 years? I would really love to get dressed up one Saturday night, take a drive down to Twin Sisters, and enjoy a night of country dancing. There is so much tradition and history in this building. Can you imagine in its 130 years, how many people fell in and out of love, had their first kiss, and their first dance?
Economy: I have learned that every one has their own history, everyone has their own past. Even though there may no longer be anyone left in a town, there was once a busy street full of people, a store full of groceries and a dance hall full of music. Twin Sisters is its own small get away. All you have to do is drive forty minutes outside of San Antonio, and you will be brought back in time about fifty years. Besides the new highway, there is still so many of the original buildings standing. They did a recording of the population between 1970 and 1990 there was only a population of seventy-eight people. I see this town being non-existent within the next 50 years. Twin Sisters is a small town a ranching town and that is what it will always be. The only reason people really stop in is if they are passing through. The high way cuts right through town so people don't really seem to notice Twin Sisters too much. The only reason people go to Twin Sisters is to enjoy some good old fashioned country music or to buy some antique furniture at the auction house. It seems as though that is what really keeps the town going besides tradition.
Landmarks: The Evangelical Lutheran Church was started in 1920 by the people of Twin Sisters. It would later be moved to Blanco County on August 20, 1950. The church eventually just withered away to some steps in a field, surrounded by graves. The two people in the photo are a married couple from Twin Sisters. They were buried in the Twin Sisters Cemetery. The man was Herman Koch he was born on November 6, 1842 and he died November 20, 1926. His wife was buried next to him, she was Louise Koch she was born on June 17,1850 and died on February 9, 1943. Lutheran Evangelist Church
Events: For over 100 years the town has had a honky-tonk dance hall. They still continue to have dances every first saturday of the month. You can also rent the location for private parties. They also hold auctions every two weeks in Twin Sisters, at the Twin Sisters Auction House. It is such a nice and friendly place to be, the people there were so friendly and very helpful. We found out that the auction house was owned by a man in the early 1900's and then sold it to another man who turned it into a restaurant in the 1950's. When my dad first began to work for the Coca Cola company about 25 years ago, the restaurant was on his delivery route. Within the last 20 years, a man named Patrick turned the restaurant into an auction house. Every other Saturday they have an auction over the internet and at the actual location. There are people from Twin Sisters and from surrounding towns that bring their old antiques to this auction. Just walking into this house, you can see the history. We met a couple from the area who was selling a Coca Cola kitchen set that was from 1950.
Theme: In recent decades the community's economy, like that of the rest of Blanco County, has been dominated by ranching and farming. Twin Sisters is in the hill country and its primary purpose is still ranching and farming. There is still a place that breeds miniature horses in Twin Sisters. The theme of the town would be living a farmers life. If you live in Twin Sisters you live a rancher's life.
What is your name?
My name is Sheryl Major but I was born into the Holt family.
Do you happen to be related to anyone in the Holt construction company?
No, but I have been asked that question a lot.
Do you still live in Twin Sisters?
No, my family and I moved away. I was 12 I remember having to move to a new junior high school in San Antonio.
Do you have any fond memories of Twin Sisters?
Yes, I have many memories I was raised there. I remember it being so quiet some nights you could not stand it. I also remember always wanting to go to the dance hall, by myself.
That was going to be my next question, did you ever go to the dance hall?
Yes, but it was always with my parents I just hated that I could not go by myself.
Did you ever get in trouble, even though there was not much to do?
Yes, one night me and my friends wanted to go to the Dance hall on high school night to meet some guys. Well I did not get very far, my daddy found out. He was there waiting for me. I remember I got my tail whupped that night. See baby, even us grown foks used to get in some trouble
After you moved away did you go back often?
Yes, I would go back and visit some of my old friends. My best friend's name was Audrey. Once I got old enough I went to the Dance Hall a couple of times. I got drunk for the first time in the Hall. I remember never wanting to have another beer ever again. But of course I was over that quick!
How was it growing up living in such a small town?
Well there was not much to do me and my family used to drive up to Blanco alot it was a much bigger city then ours. And if we were real good we could come to down town and go shopping and walk around. Since San Antonio was a lot further then Blanco was, we had to be really good to get a trip down here.
Are you related to any of the founding fathers of Twin Sisters?
Did you see a lot of changes while you were growing up?
Yes a lot of families were moving away, there were not many here to begin with but we lost a lot of families to Blanco and San Antonio. They were moving for work.
What did your family do to make a living?
Well my daddy was a farmer but our last two years in Twin Sisters were hard, daddy was losing money. So we moved to San Antonio my mom was a nurse at Santa Rosa Hospital and a few months after we moved daddy got a job as a banker.
I see you are married to an African American man was it hard to have an inter-racial relationship?
Yes, very hard in those days you were not supposed to talk to black people, let alone date a black person. My family had a very hard time with it at first. When we first began to date every time we would walk into a room together every one would walk out. We were treated as if we had a disease. It hurt my heart to have this happen. But because of the good Lord my family began to open ther eyes and saw him for the wonderful man that he is.
Do you ever go back to Twin Sisters?
Yes on occassion I will go to an auction. I have not been there in over two years though. Maybe it is about time I take a little visit up to Twin Sisters.
Where do you think Twin Sisters is headed for in the future?
I have to sadly say that the town is not even what it once was. At least there was some business in my day now there is nothing to grow. Ever since the highway was built. No one stops in to say hello, they just drive on by.
Just one last question did you enjoy growing up in Twin Sisters?
Yes, very much so I love that little town, but I have to say I love being in San Antonio the city is what is for me.
Photos: The first photo is of the steps of the original Evangelical Lutheran Church that was started in 1920 and moved to Blanco County in the 1950's. The second photo is of the St. Mary's Chapel of Twin Sisters, this photo was taken in 1994. This is also another location that is no longer being used in Twin Sisters. The third photo is of the Twin Sisters Creek. As you can see there is no longer any water flowing through the town they suffered a horrible drought in the early 1900's, that the town never truly recovered from. There is still little business in Twin Sisters but not as it once was.Lutheran Church
Interesting People: There was a man who was born and raised in Twin Sisters, Texas. In his time he did a lot to protect the people of his community. His name was Jerome Preiss, who was born on February 29, 1924 and died on July 12, 2004. Like a lot of men his age, he was able to serve his country in World War ll. Once he came back from the war, he decided to join the highway patrol. He joined the highway patrol on August 1, 1948 were he served in Pleasanton, San Antonio, Carrizo Springs and Johnson City. He served as a patrolman for six years before he became a Texas Ranger. It was when he was stationed in Carrizo Springs that he became friends with a man by the name of Captain A. Y. Allee who was the commander of the company at the time. Becoming this man's friend began promising 22 year career as a Texas Ranger. During his time as a Texas Ranger, he served in Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen were he stayed for ten years, and then Seguin in 1966. He later transferred back to Harlingen were he later retired. He was also known by the name Geronimo and he will also always be remembered as a great storyteller. Jerome Preiss
Twin Sisters Dance Hall- Twin Sisters dance hall was founded in 1870
The Hand Book of Texas Online http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/TT/hnt40_print.html-
Texas Ranger- http://www.texasranger.org/memorials/Preiss_Jerome.htm
www.patricksauctions.html - This web site is about the auction house in Twin Sisters.
The Creek at Twin Sisters (photo)- This photo was taken in 2004.
St. Mary's Chapel (photo)- This photo was taken in April 2004.
http://www.texasbreweries.com/unknown.htm Texas Breweries- This passage once again speaks about Max Krueger and mentions how he was importing beer into Twin Sisters.
http://www.accd.edu/pac/history/hist1302/OralHistory/WorldWarTwo/Preiss-Beutnagel/oralhistory.htm Oral History Project on Jerome Preiss
Blanco county court house
A five star map Texas road map- well this map was very important in that it help me find the town that I chose. The town of Twin Sisters is located in Blanco County it is only about 45 minutes out of San Antonio. You only go North on 281 till you hit Twin Sisters if you blink your eyes you will miss the town.
San Antonio Express-News- Greek Orthodox monastery finds home at former Muslim school in Hill Country, published on October 13, 1997. A worker that was painting a sign was startled when he was surprised by the presence of two mysterious men in white. Later, the painter came to the conclusion that it was the two archangels Michael and Gabriel, who they say were merely showing their approval for the monastery founded in their honor on July 17, 1996 a monk priest said. I thought that this story was so amazing to think that this land that this church was built on was in some way spiritual. It made me want to look into this area a little more to see if maybe anything else happened.
8. The Cemetery of Twin Sister- The only reason this is such a big part of this project is because it shows the past of this town the people that once ran this town. The town of Twin Sisters was at one point in time a very productive.
Twin Sisters by Mike Cox- He gives information about the town and some history. He gave me some of the most important information, including how the town received its name.
Photo of Dance Hall- I began taking photos of Twin Sisters and I love the photo of the dance hall it is seems like it has so much history.
Lyn- I never got this lady's last name but I spoke with her for a long while when I went to visit the auction house. She had been working in the auction house for years. She told me about how the auction house was once just a man's house. Then she proceeded to tell me that another man purchased it and turned it into a restaurant. Which lasted for a long while until a man named Patrick who now owned the Auction House turned it into an auction house.
Links: Twin Sisters, Texas
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