Other Views from 1881

Where is Schulenburg?

Above: Augustus Koch (1840–?). Bird’s Eye View of Schulenburg, Fayette County, Texas, 1881. Toned lithograph, 12.3 x 22.8 in. Lithographer unknown. Witte Museum, San Antonio.

Schulenburg in 1881

Schulenburg, located in southern Fayette County about eighteen miles south of La Grange, was a small town of fewer than 1,000 persons when Koch visited in 1881. It had been founded in 1873, when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built through that portion of the county, and was settled by German, Austrian, and Czech immigrants whose presence is documented in some of the street names such as Kesler, Wolters, Hilje (should be Hillje), and Paulus.

Koch depicted the city from the south-southwest, focusing on the handsome railroad (passenger depot 7 on map and freight depot, 8) and the businesses along Main Street, which runs parallel to the railroad tracks. At the far left is Russell’s Summer Garden (6). Moving up the tracks to the right are Christian Baumgarten’s Mill (3) and lumberyard and Schaefer’s Mill. Just to the northwest of Schaefer’s Mill is the public school house (corner of Kesler and Anderson streets), and on West Street just beyond Summitt [sic], Koch identifies a building simply as “Church.” It was probably the High Hill Missionary Baptist Church that was relocated in 1873 to Schulenburg, where it served several different congregations as a Union Church. It was reorganized in 1927 as the First Baptist Church. Koch also illustrated the City Hotel, facing Main Street in the middle of the block between Kesler and Lyons streets. The large store shown at the corner of Lyons and Main streets was a general merchandise store. The area’s oldest occupied house, the Old Anderson Place, which was built before 1857 by William B. and Rosetta Anderson, is shown immediately south of the passenger depot. Some of the streets that Koch depicted apparently had not yet been named.