Settlement of Boerne
The City of Boerne is named for Ludwig Börne, who inspired many young men to leave Germany in the 1840s and travel to the new world. Some of these German pioneers created a settlement called “Tusculum” near present day Johns Road. Even after most of the original creators had moved on, a few of the men decided to remain and named the area Boerne.
The land on which the settlement began was eventually bought by Gustav Theissen and John James, who platted the town in 1851. As businesses grew and stagecoach routes began to appear in the area, Boerne itself began to develop as well. A post office and stage stop was opened by August Staffel in 1856. William Dietert established Boerne’s first business, a gristmill and sawmill on the Cibolo Creek. Soon the town was in possession of a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, a butcher shop, a saloon, and a general store. Professor Karl Dienger even created a private school in the 1860s.
Growth in Boerne
In 1887, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad began daily treks to Boerne from San Antonio, replacing the use of the stagecoach. The railroad brought mail and newspapers from San Antonio daily and cut travel time between the two cities to three hours. Tourism expanded, and Boerne grew considerably larger.
Many people suffering from lung ailments traveled to Boerne to recuperate. It has been said that at one time, Boerne contained more invalids and sick people than healthy citizens. Apparently, the people of Boerne grew tired of having so much illness around. When the owners of the Veterans Administration Hospital offered to build their facility in Boerne, they were turned down and the hospital was instead erected in the nearby town of Kerrville.
Not long after the turn of the century, Boerne acquired electricity, telephone capacity, and telegraphs. An opera house was built to house cultural events and was the site of the first Kendall County Fair in 1906. Agriculture was thriving, with crops such as cotton, corn, wheat, rye, Irish potatoes, and tobacco reigning in the area. Shortly after the opera house opened, automobiles began to arrive. The town was incorporated in 1909. William John Wilke served as the town’s first mayor and taxes were set at 25 cents per $100.
Today, Boerne is a popular place for tourists to scavenge for antiques, view historic buildings, and relax in the comfort of a small town. Several community activities take place throughout the seasons, and Boerne can now boast that it has more than 12,000 citizens who are proud to call this town home.