Boerne: A Town Built On Tradition
A thriving town of over 11,000 residents, Boerne’s humble beginnings go back to the days of pioneers. Settled in 1849 by German immigrants, Cibolo Creek is where the then named “Tusculum” community began. In 1852 the town was platted and renamed Boerne in honor of German author Karl Ludwig Borne. Shortly after, a post office was established, as well as Boerne’s first businesses. With a gristmill, sawmill, blacksmith shop, liver stable, butcher shop, saloon, and general store in operation, the town soon saw the need for a school. A private school was created by the 1860’s and soon after the town was chosen to be the county seat. To accommodate county proceedings, a courthouse was built in 1870. This courthouse, directly across the street from the current courthouse, is still in use, making it the second oldest courthouse in Texas.
Because of its robust atmosphere, Boerne developed a reputation for having a healthful environment, and by 1884 the amount of residents had grown to 250. Additionally, the town became known as a health resort and five hotels were built to accommodate the demand for lodging.
With the arrival of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway in 1887, Boerne saw increased economic opportunity, thus tripling the population. With the growth, the town elected a mayor and voted to incorporate. In that same year, 1909, the Boerne Independent School District was established.
Like many American cities, Boerne continued to prosper and grow through the 1920’s. However, with the Great Depression, the town saw the local economy crumble and consequently the population was nearly cut in half by 1931. For two decades the population remained steady until many residents turned to San Antonio for work, turning Boerne into a bedroom community. However, with the completion of Interstate Highway 10 in the 1960’s, Boerne became an attractive commuting town and its population rose to 2,400 by 1970, and nearly doubled by 1990. Now eligible for home rule, the town applied and was granted the right to local self-government. With the ability to create its own system of government, Boerne saw accelerated growth in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, again causing the population to double to the almost 11,000 people that call it home today.
Though the town is populated by a variety of different ethnic groups, the German cultural tradition still dominates the community in many ways. Besides the German street names and German cuisine, German community organizations established in the mid 19th century remain active in the town. Additionally, the Berges Fest, established in 1967, continues to be held each year along with several other community activities. It is a popular place for tourists to view the historic buildings and for residents to relax in the comfort of a small town.