New Braunfels, Texas

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New Braunfels, Texas
New Braunfels Collage.png
Top, left to right: Guadalupe River, August Dietz Cottage, First Protestant Church, Comal River in Landa Park, Schlitterbahn, Hotel Faust
New Braunfels City Seal.jpg
New Braunfels City Logo.png
In Neu Braunfels ist das leben schöne (In New Braunfels, life is beautiful) [1]
Comal County NewBraunfels.svg
Location of New Braunfels in Texas
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New Braunfels
Location in the state of Texas
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New Braunfels
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 29°42′N98°7′W / 29.700°N 98.117°W / 29.700; -98.117
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Texas.svg  Texas
Counties Comal, Guadalupe
Founded1845 (1845)
  Type Council-Manager
   City Council
  • Mayor Rusty Brockman
  • Andrés Campos (District One)
  • Christopher Willis (District Two)
  • Harry Bowers (District Three/ Mayor Pro Tem)
  • Lawrence Spradley (District Four)
  • Jason Hurta (District Five)
  • James Blakely (District Six)
   City Manager Robert Camareno
  Total45.57 sq mi (118.02 km2)
  Land45.18 sq mi (117.01 km2)
  Water0.39 sq mi (1.00 km2)
630 ft (192 m)
 (2020) [3]
  Density1,996.66/sq mi (770.92/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code 830
FIPS code 48-50820 [5]
GNIS feature ID1342440 [6]

New Braunfels ( /ˈbrɔːnfəlz/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) BRAWN-fəlz) is a city in Comal and Guadalupe counties in the U.S. state of Texas known for its German Texan heritage. It is the seat of Comal County. The city covers 44.9 square miles (116 km2) and had a population of 90,403 as of the 2020 Census. [7] A suburb just north of San Antonio, and part of the Greater San Antonio metropolitan area, it was the third-fastest-growing city in the United States from 2010 to 2020. [8]



German immigrants on the way to New Braunfels (1844) Bundesarchiv Bild 137-005007, Zeichnung, Deutscher Einwandererzug in Texas.jpg
German immigrants on the way to New Braunfels (1844)

New Braunfels was established in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Commissioner General of the Mainzer Adelsverein, also known as the Noblemen's Society. Prince Carl named the settlement in honor of his home of Solms-Braunfels, Germany.

The Adelsverein organized hundreds of people in Germany to settle in Texas. Immigrants from Germany began arriving at Galveston in July 1844. Most then traveled by ship to Indianola in December 1844, and began the overland journey to the Fisher-Miller land grant purchased by Prince Carl. [9] At the urging of John Coffee Hays, who realized the settlers would not have time to build homes and plant crops further inland before winter, and as the German settlers were traveling inland along the Guadalupe River, they stopped near the Comal Springs. Prince Carl bought two leagues of land from Rafael Garza and Maria Antonio Veramendi Garza for $1,111.00. [10]

The land was located northeast of San Antonio on El Camino Real de los Tejas and had the strong freshwater Comal Springs, known as Las Fontanas, when the Germans arrived. [11] [12] [13] It was about halfway between Indianola and the lower portions of the Fisher-Miller land grant. The first settlers forded the Guadalupe River on Good Friday, March 21, 1845, near the present-day Faust Street bridge. [14] [15]

As the spring of 1845 progressed, the settlers built the "Zinkenburg", a fort named for Adelsverein civil engineer Nicolaus Zink, divided the land, and began building homes and planting crops. [16] Prince Carl would also lay the cornerstone for the Sophienburg, a permanent fort and center for the immigrant association. [17]

In 1844, Prince Carl was so disillusioned with the logistics of the colonization that he asked the Verein to remove him as commissioner-general and appoint a successor. [18] When John O. Meusebach arrived, the finances were in disarray, due in part to Prince Carl's lack of business experience and his refusal to keep financial records. To a larger degree, the financial situation happened because the Adelsverein was an organization of noblemen with no practical backgrounds at running businesses. They were on the other side of the world and did not witness the situation with which both Prince Carl and Meusebach were dealing. Henry Francis Fisher had not supplied transport and supplies for which the Verein advanced money to him. Meusebach found Prince Carl in Galveston trying to return to Germany, detained by authorities for unpaid bills. Meusebach made good on the debts, so Prince Carl could depart. [19]

Meusebach discovered that Prince Carl's choice of the inadequate Carlshafen (Indianola) as a port of entry, as well as the isolated route to New Braunfels, was deliberately chosen to keep the Germans from interacting with any Americans. According to Nicolaus Zink, [20] Prince Carl had planned to establish a German feudal state by secretly bringing in immigrants and placing them in military fortresses. Meusebach, who had renounced his own title of nobility, took a different approach and invited Americans to settle in the Vereins territory. [21]

Old map (1881) Old map-New Braunfels-1881.jpg
Old map (1881)

Prince Carl, being an officer of the Imperial Army of Austria, had kept a uniformed military unit at the ready in Indianola. Meusebach converted the military unit to a more needed work detail. [22] A finance and business structure for the colony was put in place by Meusebach. [23] He also provided for adequate food and shelter for the colonists. [24] On August 11, 1845, Hermann Friedrich Seele [25] became the first teacher for the German-English school in New Braunfels. [26] Meusebach established friendly relations with a local tribe of Waco Indians. Upon seeing his reddish-blonde hair, they called him Ma-be-quo-si-to-mu, "Chief with the burning hair of the head". [27]

In May 1846, Meusebach received a letter from Count Castell informing him 4,304 emigrants were on their way to Texas. With no funds and no new settlements, the mass of emigrants was stalled at Carlshafen. Meusebach's requests to the Verein for more money, and his warnings of pending bankruptcy for the Verein, brought no results. As a last resort, Meusebach instructed D.H. Klaener to publish the plight in the German news media. Embarrassed by the publicity, the Verein established a $60,000 letter of credit. [28] The amount was not adequate for sustaining the total number of German emigrants in Texas, but Castell also sent Philip Cappes as special commissioner to observe the situation. Cappes had also been instructed by Castell to observe Meusebach and to secretly report back every detail. [29] By the time Cappes departed in March 1847, he recommended another $200,000 be advanced. [30]

Cappes invited Henry Francis Fisher to New Braunfels, in spite of Fisher not being entirely trustworthy to the Verein. As of February 11, 1845, Fisher had been involved in coercing newly arrived immigrants to sign documents stating their intent to depart from the Verein and align with Fisher's friend Friedrich Schubbert, also known as Friedrich Strubberg.

Cappes was not in town when Meusebach was breakfast host to Fisher on December 31, 1846. Posters had mysteriously appeared about town maligning Meusebach, saying "Curses upon Meusebach the slave driver", and inciting colonists to free themselves from his "tyranny". A group led by Rudolph Iwonski [31] pushed their way into Meusebach's home, and colonist C. Herber brandished a whip. Herber was an alleged counterfeiter to whom Count Castell had awarded asylum. Meusebach and Herber shared a dislike of one another. [32]

The colonists' list of demands included Meusebach resigning as commissioner-general and turning the colonization over to Fisher. [33] Meusebach kept his composure, but the group became so heated, they yelled, "Hang him!" When the estimated 120 men dispersed, Fisher was nowhere to be found. The same evening, a different group of individuals assembled and pledged to stand by Meusebach, the next day passing resolutions condemning the actions of the mob. [34] Meusebach himself had considered leaving Texas as early as November 1845, when he wrote to Count Castell and announced his intention to resign and return to Germany. Meusebach did not feel the Adelsverein was organized enough to achieve its goals. After the mob visit in New Braunfels, he again submitted his resignation to accompany a financial report to Castell on January 23, 1847. [35]

Meusebach had arranged with the Torrey Brothers for transporting the emigrants inland, but the United States hired the Torrey Brothers for use in the Mexican–American War. [36]

Meusebach stabilized the community's finances, and encouraged the settlers to establish additional neighboring communities. The largest of these secondary settlements was Fredericksburg, 80 miles (130 km) to the northwest of New Braunfels.

New Braunfels thrived, and by 1850, it was the fourth-largest city in Texas, [15] with 1,723 people, following only Galveston, San Antonio, and Houston in population. [37] In 1852, the Zeitung newspaper was established, edited by German Texan botanist Ferdinand Lindheimer. The newspaper continues to publish under its current name, the Herald-Zeitung .


New Braunfels is located in southeastern Comal County. The city is 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Downtown San Antonio, 19 miles (31 km) southwest of San Marcos, and 48 miles (77 km) southwest of Austin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, New Braunfels has a total area of 44.9 square miles (116.4 km2), of which 44.4 square miles (115.1 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), or 0.91%, is covered by water. [38] The city is situated along the Balcones Fault, where the Texas Hill Country meets rolling prairie land. Along the fault in the city, a string of artesian springs known as Comal Springs gives rise to the Comal River, which is known as one of the shortest rivers in the world, as it winds 3 miles (5 km) through the city before meeting the Guadalupe River.


Gruene Historical District is located within the city limits of New Braunfels. Founded by the sons of settlers Ernst and Antoinette Gruene, [39] the community had a bank, post office, school, general store, lumberyard, gristmill, dance hall, and cotton gin. It also had access to two railways for shipping cotton bales. Its most famous attribute was the dance hall, [40] a family activity in those days. Due to the failure of the cotton crop from boll weevils, and the failure of the banks after 1929, commercial activity slowed to a crawl. This village is now a Nationally Registered Historic District where one can dine in the ruins of the original gristmill or enjoy live music at Gruene Hall. [41]


New Braunfels experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and generally mild winters. Temperatures range from 100 °F (27.8 °C) in the summer to 49 °F (9.4 °C) during winter.

The city falls in USDA hardiness zones 8b (15 °F to 20 °F) and 9a (20 °F to 25 °F). [42] New Braunfels and San Antonio, 32 miles (51 km) to the southwest, are some of the most flood-prone regions in North America. [43] The October 1998 Central Texas floods were among the costliest floods in United States history, resulting in $750 million in damage and 32 deaths. In 2002, from June 30 to July 7, 35 in (890 mm) of rain fell in the area, resulting in widespread flooding and 12 fatalities. [44]

In New Braunfels, July and August tie for the average warmest months, with an average high of 95 °F (35 °C). May, June, and October have quite a bit of precipitation. The average annual precipitation has been 35.74 inches (908 mm).

Climate data for New Braunfels, Texas
Record high °F (°C)89
Average high °F (°C)62
Daily mean °F (°C)49
Average low °F (°C)37
Record low °F (°C)2
Average precipitation inches (mm)1.88
Source: The Weather Channel [45]


Historical population
1850 1,298
1860 1,74034.1%
1870 2,26129.9%
1880 1,938−14.3%
1890 1,608−17.0%
1900 2,09730.4%
1910 3,16550.9%
1920 3,59013.4%
1930 6,24273.9%
1940 6,97611.8%
1950 12,21075.0%
1960 15,63128.0%
1970 17,85914.3%
1980 22,40225.4%
1990 27,33422.0%
2000 36,49433.5%
2010 57,74058.2%
2020 90,40356.6%
2021 (est.)98,8579.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [46] 2010–2020, 2021 [47]
New Braunfels racial composition as of 2020 [48]
(NH = Non-Hispanic) [lower-alpha 1]
White (NH)51,80157.3%
Black or African American (NH)2,3712.62%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH)2330.26%
Asian (NH)1,2611.39%
Pacific Islander (NH)1310.14%
Some Other Race (NH)3340.37%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH)3,0073.33%
Hispanic or Latino 31,26534.58%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 90,403 people, 30,855 households, and 20,946 families residing in the city.

At the census of 2000, [5] 36,494 people, 13,558 households, and 9,599 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,247.7 people per square mile (481.7/km2). The 14,896 housing units averaged 509.3 per square mile (196.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.30% White, 1.37% African American, 0.55% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 10.93% from other races, and 2.24% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 34.52% of the population.

For the year 2015, New Braunfels was named the U.S.'s second-fastest growing city with a population of 50,000 or more, according to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. [51]

In 2019, the American Community Survey determined there were 90,209 residents, up 56.4% since the 2010 U.S. census which determined the population was 57,740. [7] The population density was 1,316.1 people per square mile. In 2019, the racial and ethnic makeup of New Braunfels was 60.4% non-Hispanic white, 2.0% Black or African American, 0.4% American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.5% Asian, 2.1% from two or more races, and 34.4% Hispanic or Latin American of any race. [52] By 2020, its population grew to 90,403 residents.

The 2019 American Community Survey estimated 62.2% of housing units were owner-occupied and the median selected monthly owner costs were $1,599 with a mortgage, and $509 without a mortgage. The city had a median gross rent of $1,183 and there were a total of 28,835 households with an average of 2.72 persons per household. In 2019, the median household income was $71,044 and the per capita income was $33,405. An estimated 8.6% of New Braunfels lived at or below the poverty line.

Of the 13,558 households at the 2000 census, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were not families. About 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.11. In 2000, the population was distributed as 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,078, and for a family was $46,726 in 2000. Males had a median income of $31,140 versus $23,235 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,548. About 9.0% of families and 10.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.


Companies based in New Braunfels include Rush Enterprises and Schlitterbahn. The top employers in the area are: [53]

RankEmployerEmployees 2021Employees 2012
1 Comal Independent School District 3,1052,300
2 Schlitterbahn 2,300 [54] [lower-alpha 2] 1,683
3 Walmart Distribution Center1,3791,077
4 TaskUs 1,180-
5 New Braunfels Independent School District 1,131945
6City of New Braunfels960511
7Hunter Industries-Colorado Materials788525
8 Comal County 760616
9 Sysco 670-
10 HD Supply 477525
11Resolute Health476-
- The Scooter Store -1,400
- Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-New Braunfels -576


New Braunfels High School New braunfels high school 2014.jpg
New Braunfels High School
Canyon High School Canyon High School (Comal County, TX) IMG 6716.JPG
Canyon High School

Most of the city is served by the New Braunfels Independent School District and the Comal Independent School District in separate places. [55] Small portions in Guadalupe County are within the Marion Independent School District and the Navarro Independent School District. [56]

Two traditional public high schools are located within city limits, as well as a freshmen center. The public high schools are New Braunfels High School, Canyon High School, and Alamo Colleges-Memorial Early College High School. Private high schools are New Braunfels Christian Academy, a K–12 institution, and the Calvary Baptist Academy.

NBISD operates several schools in New Braunfels.

CISD schools serving New Braunfels are:

Recreation and tourism

New Braunfels Railroad Museum New Braunfels Station.jpg
New Braunfels Railroad Museum

The town holds "Wurstfest", a German-style sausage festival, every November, drawing on the city's strong German heritage. Every December, the town celebrates Wassailfest in the historic downtown.

New Braunfels draws a large number of tourists, particularly in the summer because of the cold-spring rivers that run through the city. Many generations of families and college students return every summer to tube for miles down the Guadalupe and Comal rivers. New Braunfels is the site of the original water park, the Schlitterbahn WaterPark Resort. The Ernest Eikel Skate Park attracts many skate board enthusiasts.

New Braunfels also hosts a Buc-ee's gas station, which is recognized as the largest gas station in the world. [60]

The 10,000-capacity Unicorn Stadium is the largest sports venue by capacity in New Braunfels. It opened in 1927 and it is used mostly for American football and soccer. The venue also has an athletics track.

New Braunfels is home to the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture, Sophienburg Museum and Archives, McKenna Children's Museum, and Alamo Classic Car Museum.

Media communications

The newspaper Herald Zeitung was originally two newspapers: The Herald (published in English) and The Zeitung, which means "newspaper", (published in German) until 1967.

The other newspaper publisher serving the city of New Braunfels is the TX Citizen, formerly the NB citizen.

In radio, two stations broadcast from New Braunfels, KGNB 1420 AM and KNBT 92.1 FM, notable for its Americana music format.

Notable people

Notable films and television

See also


  1. Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race. [49] [50]
  2. 2020 data

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels</span> German prince and military officer

Prince Carl (Karl) of Solms-Braunfels was a German prince and military officer in both the Austrian army and the cavalry of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. As commissioner general of the Adelsverein, he spearheaded the establishment of colonies of German immigrants in Texas. Prince Solms named New Braunfels, Texas, in honor of his homeland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John O. Meusebach</span> American politician

John O. Meusebach, born Otfried Hans Freiherr von Meusebach, was at first a Prussian bureaucrat, later an American farmer and politician who served in the Texas Senate, District 22.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ferdinand Lindheimer</span> German-American botanist

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adelsverein</span> Germany colony in Texas

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Meusebach–Comanche Treaty</span>

The Meusebach–Comanche Treaty was a treaty made on May 9, 1847 between the private citizens of the Fisher–Miller Land Grant in Texas, who were predominantly German in nationality, and the Penateka Comanche Tribe. The treaty was officially recognized by the United States government. In 1936, a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, Marker number 991, was placed in San Saba County to commemorate the signing of the treaty.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ferdinand Ludwig Herff</span>

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Hermann Spiess was co-founder of the Bettina, Texas commune in 1847. He became Commissioner-General of the Adelsverein after the resignation of John O. Meusebach.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fisher–Miller Land Grant</span>

The Fisher–Miller Land Grant was part of an early colonization effort of the Republic of Texas. Its 3,878,000 acres covered 5,000 square miles (13,000 km2) between the Llano River and Colorado River. Originally granted to Henry Francis Fisher and Burchard Miller, the grant was sold to the German colonization company of Adelsverein. Very few colonizations resulted from the land grant, as most settlers preferred Fredericksburg and New Braunfels, which lay outside the land grant boundaries. A granite monument located near Lookout Mountain in Burnet County summarizes the history and importance of the Fisher-Miller Land Grant and was designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1964, Marker number 9438.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Homesite of John O. Meusebach</span> Place in Texas, United States

The Homesite of John O. Meusebach is located at Loyal Valley in Mason County, Texas, 21 miles (34 km) north of Fredericksburg and 18 miles (29 km) southeast of the city of Mason, on U.S. Highway 87 to right-of-way at the intersection of US 87 and RM 2242. Meusebach moved to the property in 1869, after a tornado destroyed his family home in Comal County.

Emil Kriewitz was a German immigrant and veteran of the Mexican–American War, who came to this country with the Adelsverein colonists. After John O. Meusebach successfully negotiated the Meusebach–Comanche Treaty, Kriewitz lived among the Penateka Comanche as an intermediary between the whites and Penateka. In 1993, his home in Castell, Texas, was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, Marker number 9444.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Fredericksburg, Texas</span>

The History of Fredericksburg, Texas dates back to its founding in 1846. It was named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Fredericksburg 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Friedrich Armand Strubberg</span>

Friedrich Armand Strubberg was a merchant, physician, and pioneer colonist. Born in Germany, Strubberg spent many decades in the United States. In Texas, he used the pseudonym Dr. Friedrich Schubbert. He designed the Vereins Kirche in Fredericksburg. Strubberg spent the last few decades of his life as an author in Germany.

Bettina is a vanished community founded in 1847 by German immigrants as part of the Adelsverein colonization of the Fisher–Miller Land Grant in the U.S. state of Texas. It was located on the banks of the Llano River in Llano County, and no trace of the settlement remains today. The community was named after German artist and social activist Bettina von Arnim and was one of five attempted by the Darmstadt Forty. It was also known as the Darmstaedter Kolonie. The community was sponsored by the Adelsverein, and founded on idealistic philosophies of European freethinkers of the day. It is notable for the community's camaraderie and mutually respectful relations with local indigenous tribes. Lack of a formal community framework caused Bettina to fail within a year of its founding.


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  8. "Southern and Western Regions Experienced Rapid Growth This Decade". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
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  19. King (1967) pp.52–58
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  22. King (1967) p.63
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  24. King (1967) p.65
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  28. King (1967) pp.75–83
  29. Morgenthaler (2007) p.56
  30. King (1967) pp.96–101
  31. Johnson (2009) p.10
  32. King (1967) p.98
  33. Morgenthaler (2007) p.61
  34. King (1967) p.103
  35. King (1967) pp.110,125
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Further reading