Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fischer, TX - 12/19/12

Wednesday – December 19, 2012

Wednesday – December 19, 2012

We visited Fischer, Texas today. This town is located twenty miles northwest of New Braunfels in the Hill Country of northern Comal County. It is located at the intersection of Texas RR 12 and RR 32. Little has changed in the past 100 years in this small community.

The site was settled by Hermann Fischer in 1853. Seeds of the community were sown in 1876 with more than 3,000 acres acquired by brothers Herman and Otto Fischer. Herman claimed and stuck with 160 acres, building a small log cabin trading post to serve the frontier community, becoming the original Fischer’s store and the hub of "Fischerdale." Otto thought 3,000 acres would be more suitable for a livestock operation. Thus, Herman became known as "Store" Fischer, and Otto known as "Stock" Fischer.

Otto "Stock" Fischer built a thriving horse-breeding operation, selling his stock to the Army. In 1886, he deeded 40 acres to help establish a community school, now serving as a community meeting hall, a parcel of land for the town cemetery and a couple of acres for the now famed Fischer Hall. The hall was built just before the turn of the century, but it’s lasted to this date. It became a necessity when Fischer townspeople found it too difficult to get along with their neighbors at the dances in nearby Cranes Mill. They organized an Agricultural Society to oversee the construction and brought in Al Kloepper, a one-eyed master carpenter from New Braunfels, who was known for crafting the kind of strong and graceful arches which soar across the hall’s open ceiling.

Much of "Store" and "Stock" Fischer’s legacy survives and is very visible. The hall is still a popular special place for dances, weddings and parties, and was featured in Willie Nelson’s film "Honeysuckle Rose."

Over the years, Fischer’s store expanded far beyond its mercantile role to also become the community’s post office, bank and saloon. Around 1900 it became the frame and tin structure that remains today. The store is open in the afternoons, Wednesday through Sunday, and is owned and run by Charlene Fischer a Herman "Store" descendant. Just up the road toward Wimberley Merle Jean Fischer, a descendant of Otto "Stock", is still working the family ranch.

Progress also brought name changes to Fischerdale. At the request of postal officials the community's name has changed twice: in 1894 Fischer's Store became Fischer Store, and in 1950 the name was shortened to Fischer, so the postmark wouldn’t advertise the store. In the 1960’s it was reported that the Fischer family had held the local postmasters position continuously since 1876. It’s almost impossible to find any in the local population who approves of the new U.S. Post Office which came on the scene around 2000, after residing happily in the store for more than 100 years.

Fischer recorded a population of forty or fifty for most of the twentieth century but fell to twenty in the mid-1960’s as Canyon Lake, four miles to the south, began filling. In 1967 Fischer was described just as it might have been a hundred years earlier—a country store and post office at a rural crossroads. Its population was listed as twenty from 1967 through 2000.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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