By Myra Lee Adams Goff
On March 21 we had quite a crowd on the Plaza when Mayor Boyer proclaimed Founder’s Day and Sophienburg Executive Director Linda Dietert reminded us once again of the first emigrants as they crossed the Guadalupe into NB.
Events on our Plaza over the years have been mostly honorable and occasionally not so honorable. Negotiating the Plaza has always been a challenge and efforts to get rid of it have always given way to public sentiment to keep it. The saying “All roads lead to Rome” could read “All roads lead to the Plaza” here in NB.
In the early days when NB High School was located on Mill St.(until 1951), pep rallies on the Plaza involving the whole town were the ultimate in support for football teams. Students would rally in the Academy St. gym the day of the game but the night before, when the Unicorns were playing “big” games, like arch-rival Seguin, or playoff games, pep rallies would be downtown.
Look at the picture of a “Conga line.” Of Cuban origin, this practice was a dance forming a long, snake-like line accompanied by a bass drum. The line started at the NBHS with seniors leading the students in a snake-like “step, step, step, kick” down the street. These are the seniors of 1951 winding their way to the Plaza. The encyclopedia says that “dancing” in ancient times was actually done as a ritual prayer for victory in battle. Well, that fits. “Rally around the Plaza” was symbolic of sticking together, of victory.
Many inspiring speeches were made from the gazebo, especially on patriotic holidays. The Plaza and patriotism go hand in hand. Just think of all the events you have witnessed on the Plaza – giant parades like the Comal County Fair Parade heading towards the center of town, traditional parades like the Kindermaskenball, July 4th, and special anniversaries.
Main Plaza is possibly the most photographed spot in town. No telling how many wedding and graduation photos have been taken there. Do you remember Braunfels, Germany residents Gerhard and Regina Adam’s marriage on the Plaza during our Sesquicentennial?
The Plaza used to be a rallying place after elections. When A.D. “Pete” Nuhn was mayor of NB (1942-52), the election of 1944 made a big impression on me because my dad’s job depended on whether Nuhn was re-elected mayor. Dad was city clerk and park manager and these were appointed positions. After the polls closed, he and I went to the Plaza to watch the election results being written in chalk on a huge blackboard on the gazebo. I remember the numbers being erased and rewritten and erased and rewritten. I was told that no election could be called until the “bloody fifth” (Comaltown) came in. Supposedly Comaltown stuck together and the election couldn’t be decided until this precinct was counted.
Now let’s look at those new iron bars on the Plaza at the intersections of N. Seguin and S. Seguin. They weren’t always there. Over the years a few people drove straight across the Plaza, even knocking down the fountain and doing much damage. Now I’m here to tell you that I am possibly the only person who actually drove straight across the Plaza under the influence of brazen immaturity. It was 1947. My dad had bought me a very small car called an Austen. It had no windows and moved only 20 miles an hour at top speed. Five of my friends (Arlene Krueger and Gladys Werner are the only ones I can remember) were packed in this car when we drove up S. Seguin towards the Plaza. Deciding to take a shortcut, everyone jumped out, picked up the car, drove across, picked up the car on the other side and continued down N. Seguin.
If that Plaza could talk!