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CYPRESS CREEK, TX

CYPRESS CREEK, TEXAS. The Cypress Creek community, also known as Cypressville, is ten miles southeast of Kerrville in eastern Kerr County. It was named after a tributary of the Guadalupe River and comprises some fifty farms and ranches along about thirty miles of secondary and tertiary roads between Comfort and Kerrville. One of the first settlements in what is today Kerr County, the picturesque, originally German-speaking community has been the subject of numerous paintings and many historical, literary, and linguistic studies, as well as an archeological study that suggests that the well-watered valley has been inhabited for nearly 10,000 years. The first two German families, Wiedenfeld and Schladoer, arrived in 1852. The pattern in which other families and individuals—Saur, Boerner, Steves, Lich, Hoerner, Zink, Lindner, Voigt, Nagel, Nuernberger, Allerkamp, Schellhase, Holekamp, Karger, Mohrhoff, Reeh, and others—followed typifies an extended process of cluster migration, dispersal, and settlement. Linked by kinship, friendship, and politics and bolstered by Reconstruction-era prosperity, a high birth rate, and unusually low infant mortality, the population grew to over 150 within thirty years. Many came from New Braunfels, Sisterdale, Bettina, and Kerrville, but some came directly from Europe. There were also English, Anglo-American, and Hispanic settlers. Plans to organize a township never materialized; however, a cemetery, shooting club, militia, and school—but no churches—were established early in the history of this liberal, freethinking community. A sawmill-gristmill named Perseverence Mill, constructed by Ernst Altgelt in 1855, served both the Cypress Creek community and the adjacent town of Comfort. A women's literary club maintained an active membership for over a hundred years. Droughts of the 1950s and declining agricultural productivity in the 1960s lowered the population to about a hundred. The community grew again in the late 1960s with the completion of Interstate Highway 10, which put San Antonio within commuting distance. The population of the community was estimated at 200 in 1988 and remained the same in 2000. Historical markers located on the Sturdy Oak Farm commemorate the cemetery and a nexus of prehistoric sites. German place names abound in the community, including the colorful Hasenwinkel Creek, a small tributary. Among many historic homesteads, the most prominent is the Karger-Keidel ranchhouse (1860s and 1897), which German-Texan architect Albert Keidel inherited and extended between 1945 and 1950, thereby creating the prototype of Hill Country German vernacular architecture later popularized in Fredericksburg, Austin, and San Antonio.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Francis Edward Abernethy, Built in Texas, Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 42 (Waco: E-Heart Press, 1979). Francis Edward Abernethy, ed., T for Texas: A State Full of Folklore, Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 44 (Dallas: E-Heart, 1982). Glen E. Lich, The German Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1981). Guido E. Ransleben, A Hundred Years of Comfort in Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1954; rev. ed. 1974). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Glen E. Lich

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Glen E. Lich, "CYPRESS CREEK, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrcbe), accessed September 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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