We save the real places that tell the real stories of Texas.
The first concerted effort to bring German settlers to Texas came in 1831, when Johann Friedrich Ernst (aka Friedrich Dirks), from the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, received a grant of more than 4,000 acres in Stephen F. Austin’s colony.
He and his family were on a ship from New York to New Orleans and planned to move to Missouri, but changed their destination when they learned of favorable conditions in Texas.
Within a generation, a wide swath of the state from the coastal plain to the Hill Country included dozens of German-settled towns; later generations of Germans also settled in North Texas. Many of these place names, including New Ulm, Frelsburg, Bleiblerville, Oldenburg, Weimar, Schulenburg, Gruene, New Braunfels, Boerne, Fredericksburg and Luckenbach, still dot the map today.
There are many examples of German heritage still visible on the Texas landscape, from dance halls and shooting clubs to churches and schools.
This walking tour takes you through downtown Austin and the Capitol Complex area, highlighting historic German homes and businesses, some still vibrant and some long passed to modern development.
The Texas Historical Commission hopes you will take this opportunity to celebrate the generations of German immigrants who have helped shape the state of Texas.