By Myra Lee Adams Goff
The City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Dept. is living up to the city’s mission statement of adding value to the community by planning for the future and encouraging community involvement. Two public parks are in the planning stage, Fischer Park and Mission Hill Park.
If all goes well, an opening date of 2014 is anticipated for the 62 acre Fischer Park located at County Lind Road and McQueeney Rd. Mission Hill will be somewhat after this date.
Wade Tomlinson, Park Development Manager, in speaking of Fischer Park, said the historic character of the park was important and that the aim was for anyone who visited the park to be able to perceive that the property had been a working farm. The Fischer family brand will be used on park signage to help represent this. Two ponds already on the property will become potential fishing and boating ponds, one with a pier. New buildings will have a ranch-look to them.
A large event center designed in the central Texas ranch style, painted in earth tones, could be rented out for up to 300 people. It would have outdoor seating as well and could be used for weddings, family reunions and other gatherings.
Another potential building would be used for classrooms and offer nature courses. A ranch-like playground would contain a nature trail and splash pads. Austin parks have splash pads and children love them. This park will be free to the public but buildings will be available for a fee.
The 62 acres was at one time the homestead of Dewey and Milda Fischer. Their son, Maurice Fischer, and his brother and three sisters sold 55 acres to the City of NB and donated three acres to the NB Parks Foundation.
Back to the beginning of the Fischer family in Texas: Willie Fischer began his ranching business in Kendalia in the Twin Sisters area when he bought a large tract of land around the year 1900. Willie was the son of German immigrants Fritz and Caroline Klinger Fischer from Burgdorf, Hanover, Germany. Willie married his wife Meta Knibbe and in 1898, Meta died as a result of giving birth to their only child, Ottilie. The baby was raised by her grandparents, Charles and Pauline Knibbe of Spring Branch. Ottilie would marry Alfred Jonas and produce twin girls, Audrey (Dean) and Jacquelyn (Mayer).
Willie continued ranching in the Twin Sisters area. Then in 1904 he married again to Martha Bartels, the daughter of Henry and Marie Startz Bartels. They had three children, Linda, Nola, and Dewey.
Dewey Henry Fischer was born in 1911. At a dance at Smithsons Valley, he met his future wife Milda Sahm. Milda was born in the settlement of Comal in 1918 to Edwin and Hilda Sahm. Dewey and Milda were married in a formal wedding ceremony at First Protestant Church in New Braunfels in 1935 by Rev. Gottlob Mornhinweg. (Five generations of the Fischer family were married in this church.) Dewey and Milda lived at the family ranch house in Kendalia .
Willie Fischer in 1944 bought land in New Braunfels between Hwy. 725 and the Old McQueeney Road. Dewey bought land on the other side of his dad’s property in early 1946 and shortly thereafter he and Milda moved their family to this property. Their oldest child, Maurice, was getting ready to start to school and they wanted him and their future children to attend school in New Braunfels. Children Dean, Beverly, Faye Lynn, and Debra were born in New Braunfels. This is the property where the park is located.
Dewey Fischer was a successful farmer and businessman on the Kendalia ranch and later in New Braunfels. As a young man, he purchased a bulldozer, built a trailer, and then added a scraper, a grader, and two caterpillar crawler tractors. With this he began the Dewey Fischer Construction Company. He was active in soil conservation work and dug the pond that is on the park property.
He died suddenly in 1967. His wife Milda continued living in the NB property and several years later she married Helmuth Schlameus.
Over the years various family members lived in the farmhouse and Christmas 2006 was the last time that the family celebrated together in the old house. There are, however, 29 direct descendants of Dewey Fischer living within two miles of New Braunfels.
The Fischer family can be proud of the community use made of their land and the homestead will live on through the park.