Serdinko’s story

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman — Request from Fargo, North Dakota: Do you know anything about a New Braunfels photographer named J. Serdinko? “Uhhh…yeah,” I thought to myself, “but not enough to answer this request!” The Sophienburg photograph collections contain several hundred thousand images; about 300 of those are impressed with

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“Reflections” on movie history

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman — What do New Braunfels and the 1929 Academy Award for Best Production (Picture) have in common? The answer is in Jack Kaufmann’s oral history recording for the Sophienburg Museum’s “Reflections” radio program. Jack’s father, John P. Kaufmann, Sr., owned and ran one of the early

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Names of places tell a cultural story

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman – I discovered something interesting the other day. In a 1954 New Braunfels Herald column called, “The Melting Pot,” the writer, Gordon Rose, discusses the names of nearby localities known by both German/Anglo and Mexican citizens. The names these two cultures chose give us insight to

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A flight to remember

Replica of the Wright Vin Fiz, 1911. Keva Hoffmann Boardman — On Saturday, October 21, 1911, James Ogletree and a buddy finished gathering pecans along the Guadalupe River near the Gruene Road bridge and walked up to his grandfather H.D. Gruene’s store. There, they heard the MKT depot manager exclaim

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Connecting the dots of history

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman — Remember dot-to dot coloring books? The fun of dragging your pencil around the page to connect each black dot in order to get an image to color? I find that working at the Sophienburg often entails finding and connecting dots. Recently, Wendy Zunker Coleman donated

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Charcoal burners of the Guadalupe

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman — A year ago, I alluded to a book, Charcoal and Charcoal Burners, published in 1950, by Fritz and Emilie Toepperwein of Boerne. From around 1870 until 1919, the name Charcoal City was given to a region of land in the Guadalupe River Valley that extended

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True crime series: The Irene Hitzfelder murder

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman Some stories seem to write themselves. Not this one. I have struggled with this story for over 2 years. On the morning of Thursday, Sept. 13, 1923, nine-year-old Irene Hitzfelder was brutally killed by sixteen year-old Clarke Coffield. Irene, the daughter of Herman and Wanda nee

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The museum’s Mormon mystery

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman – I just finished an exhibit on the Waissenhaus or Orphan’s Home. Organized in 1848 near Gruene, it was the first orphanage in Texas. I perused the Sophienburg’s collections to find original artifacts to use in the exhibit, and knew that of two large dough troughs,

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New Braunfels 25th Birthday (Part 2)

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman — Day two of the 25th Jubilee of the founding of New Braunfels turned out to be just as wonderful as the day before. As it neared 10 am on Monday, May 16, 1870, citizens once again assembled at the school on Academy and Mill streets.

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New Braunfels 25th Birthday (Part 1)

By Keva Hoffmann Boardman — New Braunfels, founded on March 21, 1845, traditionally celebrated the city’s anniversaries in May, because of agricultural and weather issues. The 25th Anniversary was held Sunday and Monday, May 15-16, 1870. Jubilee committees worked from March through May to plan the event. At 7 p.m.

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