COMFORT, TEXAS. Comfort, the second largest town in Kendall County, is located at the junction of State Highway 27, U.S. Highway 87, and Interstate Highway 10, sixteen miles northwest of Boerne on the county's western edge. The town was laid out near the site of an Indian village in 1854 by Ernst Hermann Altgelt, though its history goes back to a group of Germans from New Braunfels that settled in 1852 along the banks of the Cypress Creek above its confluence with the Guadalupe River. Freemasons, freethinkers, and political activists, middle-class German families, and liberals from Bettina and Sisterdale settled the area. Townsmen organized the community along cooperative lines and steadfastly opposed formal local government. Comfort opened a school shortly after its founding, but not until 1892 was a church built. The town was a center of Union sentiment during the Civil War and lost many young men at the battle of the Nueces in 1862. The Treue der Union monument on High Street across from the middle school campus honors these dead. From 1856 until Kendall County was organized in 1862, Comfort competed with Kerrville to become the county seat of Kerr County; Kerrville won.
Early agriculture and commerce in the area depended on sheep and goats, grains, lime burning (see LIMEKILNS), masonry, building rock, lumber, and shingles. In the 1940s and 1950s, when the Hill Country was an international wool and mohair center, Adolf Stieler of Comfort reigned as "Angora Goat King of the World." In the 1980s agribusiness continued to dominate the local economy, but hunting, fishing, sightseeing, and youth camps drew increasing numbers of tourists.
Much of the original townsite is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Significant architectural sites include Bolshevik Hall, Turner Hall, a theater, and numerous half-timber and Victorian structures that survived a disastrous flood in 1978. A tradition of secular funerals was still widely observed in the twentieth century, and German turner (see TURNVEREIN MOVEMENT) activities and modern Volksmarsch celebrations continued. A local museum, volunteer and mutual aid organizations, and service and literary clubs provided informal governance. The population of the unincorporated town was over 1,400 in 1980, when the post office, established in 1856, still existed. In 1990 the population was 1,477, and in 2000 it increased to 2,358.
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.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Glen E. Lich, "COMFORT, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjc16), accessed February 11, 2016. Uploaded on June 30, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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