By Myra Lee Adams Goff
Let’s talk bread – white bread, rye bread, pumpernickel and even a variety of different yeast breads that are sweet. All these goodies come out of the oldest continuous bakery in town, Naegelin’s Bakery.
In early, early, early New Braunfels, the bread that was purchased was a real treat and the bakery was one of the first businesses in New Braunfels. Just like the love of beer, the Germans brought their love of bread with them. Prince Carl knew this, so he appointed an official baker for the Adelsverein immigrants. That baker was named Heinrich Zuschlag who had been a professional baker in Germany. Forty-four year-old Zuschlag and his fourteen year-old son, Conrad, emigrated to Texas and signed on with the Adelsverein to be bakers. They sailed on the brig Ferdinand, accompanied the first settlers from the coast inland and then drew town lot #115 out of a hat.
This lot #115 is located on the corner of Seguin St. and Mill St. It is the location of the old NB City Hall before it moved to Castell St. After it was the City Hall, the Sophienburg Archives had their collections there. Hermann Seele, when he first set foot on Seguin St., along with Dr.Wm.Remer, remarked, “We caught sight of a stoutly built man whose sleeves were rolled up above the elbows.” Seele went on to say that the man was kneading dough with his muscular arms while his son, a 15 year-old armed with a long shovel, kept the large fire burning by stirring the coals. It was Zuschlag’s bakery. Later Seele says that he bought bread at Dr. Koester’s bakery, operated by Zuschlag.
Dr. Ferdinand Roemer, another early walker of Seguin St. in 1846, noticed the Koester building had three shingles hanging out front. They read: Dr. Koester, Apothecary and Bakery. Roemer was curious about the combination of professions, but apparently Koester was the distributor of the bread by Zuschlag who actually baked it at the other end of Seguin St.
In 1850 Zuschlag is listed as a baker and so is his son. This home/ bakery was purchased by John and Henry Goldenbagen in 1865. The Naegelin story starts here.
Edward Naegelin, Sr. was brought to Texas by his parents from Hirschen, Alsace in 1846 when he was two years old. The family is not listed in the Comal County Census for 1850 or 1860. We know that at age 19, he fought in the Civil War and records show that after the war, he and a friend started a bakery in San Antonio. The partnership was unsuccessful and dissolved. Naegelin then came to New Braunfels in 1868. He rented the building from Goldenbagen who had purchased the building from Zuschlag. Naegelin said, “I came to New Braunfels with a sack of flour and a dollar”.
He must have made that flour and that dollar go a long way. In the 1868 Herald Zeitung there is an advertisement about this bakery located in the Goldenbagen house, which Naegelin rented.
In 1870 he moved his bakery to the site of the present Naegelin Bakery. At first he rented the building and then he bought the building in 1874 and the business has been at this site ever since. Naegelin was assisted by his wife, Francisca Seekatz Naegelin.
According to Sophienburg records, bread was delivered locally by a horse-drawn wagon. Regular deliveries were left on the porch of the customer. The driver would ring a bell notifying the customer of their arrival. The Sophienburg Museum has a display of some of the early Naegelin tools of the trade. The large cypress mixing bowl was hand-hewn by Naegelin. Many of the original utensils, were mostly made by Henne Hardware for the Naegelins, and the first display case, plus other small bakery pans are on display at the museum.
When Edward “Edo” Naegelin died in 1923, the business was taken over by his son, Edward, Jr. and his wife, Laura Kessler. They remodeled the building in 1935 and their son, Clinton, became the manager, and later owner. Edward, Jr. and Laura Naegelin continued to live upstairs over the bakery.
Laura Naegelin was well-known in New Braunfels. She was known for her frankness, especially to customers who were not from “her home town.” She was partial to her local customers. Most locals today can tell you “words of wisdom” from the mouth of Laura Naegelin. In 1963 the New Braunfels Herald requested a photo of Laura for a story they were doing on the bakery. She refused, saying that she hadn’t had a picture taken in 50 years, and she wasn’t about to start now. In spite of her “words of wisdom,” the product was so good that the business flourished. Clinton sold the bakery in 1980 to the Granzin family who still own it.
The Klein House
Right next to the Naegelin’s Bakery sits a small, old cottage that is one of the oldest buildings in New Braunfels. It’s known as the Klein House.
Early immigrant Stephan Klein drew the lot in 1845 and built his home on this lot. The fachtwerk cross timber house is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Klein heirs sold the house in 1858. Eventually after several owners, the house was sold by the last owner, Carl Floege to Edward Naegelin in 1877. The house was occupied by the Naegelin family and is now a Bed and Breakfast owned by the Granzins.
Stephan Klein came to Texas on the ship Hershel. He was present for the original drawing of lots. Klein was perhaps the oldest immigrant to receive a lot in the new colony. He was 59 years old, born in 1875 in Roxheim Bad-Kreuzhaen. He married Margaretha Hoffmann and was listed as a vine dresser (one who trims and cultivates grapevines) and carpenter in Germany.
Early documents gave a complete description of the physical qualities of the immigrants. According to his papers, he was 5’ 7” tall, of medium stature, blond hair with white streaks and blond eyelashes. He had a round face and chin and a blind left eye. (Source: Everett Fey, archivist for the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church)
In 1980 the Naegelin family gave up ownership of the bakery to another family with a bakery background. Wilburn Granzin and his sons had been involved in the bakery business in San Antonio for over 20 years. The Granzin family is very proud of the long history here in New Braunfels and the bakery is known all over Texas. Many of the recipes that they use are original.