By Tara V. Kohlenberg —
The year 2018 marks 75 years of Scouting for New Braunfels Troop 133 sponsored by First Protestant Church. Seventy-five years is a significant milestone… so my story topic is born. At the beginning of any project, we tend to use the “scatter gun approach,” which is a broad search to see what pops up. All the pieces are laid out and we begin to connect the dots. There is almost always a random fact or two that do not connect to anything, but are interesting enough to save for later. My basic Boy Scout history search tells me that the Scouting Movement began in England in 1908 when the Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship was published by British General Robert Baden-Powell. The volume set out practical advice on camping, outdoor life and survival, as well as how to live an upstanding, moral life. It was not until February 8, 1910, that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. Several scouting type programs for boys started independently in the U.S. with many of these Scout programs eventually merging with the BSA. Scouting is said to have begun in New Braunfels in 1916. However, we discovered one 1936 newspaper account where C. A. Jahn, former mayor of New Braunfels, and other prominent citizens claimed that two companies of Boy Scouts existed in New Braunfels during the Civil War. His account of over 100 school boys from age eight years on up was reportedly backed by former State Senator Ferdinand Weinert of Seguin, who also served with the original Boy Scouts. Random fact not pertaining to the story, but cool never-the-less. As scouting grew, the Scouts took on greater responsibility during WWI, including the selling of Liberty War Bonds. Ever notice how Scout uniforms in Norman Rockwell paintings looked like World War I army uniforms? It is no coincidence. The first uniforms were copies of the U.S. Army uniforms of the time complete with knickers, puttees, button-down collar coat and campaign hat. Over the years, shorts became the norm with variations of khaki and olive green changing with the decades, but the tenets of scouting have remained the same.
New Braunfels had several troops throughout the city, mostly sponsored by churches or service organizations. The number of scouts and troops continued to grow until World War II when it was common for troops to fold as their leaders were called to serve. Two such New Braunfels troops, 103 and 104, were combined to form Troop 133. It was in October of 1942 that the First Protestant Evangelical and Reformed Church submitted the charter application for Troop 133. They listed Herbert Adams as their Scout Master. Dr. L.G. Lehmann and Eugene Haas (noted as “in the Army”) were listed as Assistant Scoutmasters. Members of the Troop Committee were George E. Nowotny (Chairman), W. H. Vollmar, A.C. Bremer, Arno Bartels, Edgar J. Reininger and Oscar Haas. Those Scouts listed on the original Charter paperwork were Clarence Alfrey, Jr., Robert M. Billings, Jr., Clarence Dietert, Robert Fischer, Frederick Frueholz, Jr., Billy McClughan, Willie George Ramm, Roger Wegner Reeves, Anthony Reininger, Randolph Reininger, Fred Rothberger, Bobby Schmidt, Marcus Wenzel, Carol Gene Willms, Ellis Wingfield, Wallace Howard, Jr., Edward Summers, Rudy Otto Wesch, Archie H. Heimer, Atwell Scholl, Clinton Scholl, Richard Maroney, Stanley Reinshagen, Jim Bob Belk, James Louis Jonas, Charles Edwin Berger, Elwyn Stobaugh, and James Harold Hingst. The troop was chartered with 28 Scouts ages 12 to 15, which made up four Patrols. There were 16 scouts of Tenderfoot rank; two of Second Class rank; five of First Class rank; four of Star rank, and one at Life. The highest achievement/rank in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America is the Eagle Scout. The requirements to achieve the rank of Eagle take several years to complete. The first Troop 133 Scout to become an Eagle was Clarence Alfrey, Jr., on October 10, 1944. In their 75 years, Troop 133 has awarded 176 Eagles. That does not include the sixteen awarded by Troop 104 and the nine awarded by Troop 103 between 1930 and 1943. You probably know many, as they were or are visible leaders in our community.
Troop 133 usually met at the Seele Parish House on the campus of First Protestant Church. In 1955, the Herald-Zeitung reported that the church and Troop negotiated the lease of the property at the corner of Coll and Market Streets just across the Comal River from Camp Warnecke (now Schlitterbahn). But what about the buildings? Another mystery to be unraveled! There were different stories handed down about origins of the Scout Hut buildings, including once being pieces of the old New Braunfels Academy or possibly being old Air Force barracks moved on to the property. What we found was more convoluted. In 1901 there was a rural school called Lone Star School located two miles west of New Braunfels (now San Antonio Street). In 1953, Lone Star School was annexed by New Braunfels Independent School District, to become Lone Star Elementary. Two buildings were sold to the highest bidder and moved off of the old school site in fall of 1955 to accommodate building the new Lone Star Elementary. One building was moved to the corner of Howard and Fredericksburg Streets and became the Girl Scout Little House. The other-plus year old building(s) were moved to the corner of Coll & Market to become the Troop 133 Scout Hut — where many a Scout has played ‘kick the can’, hidden in the rock pile, run through the storm drains, ‘zip- lined’ over the Comal and climbed the tower. The Troop’s history would not be complete without mentioning some of the former Scoutmasters who have helped to mold adventurous boys into well rounded men, including Mr. A. M. Moellering, Mr. Rochette Reinarz, Mr. Nathan Rheinlander, and Mr. Jack Reinarz. Congratulations to the men, scouts and parents of scouts of Troop 133 in keeping the scouting tradition strong for 75 years! We would all do well to follow the Scout Oath:
On my honor, I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
- Sophienburg Archives, New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Collection
- Rural Schools and Teachers in Comal County, Texas 1845-1956 by Alton Rahe
- A Journey in Faith by R.M. Gregory and M.L. Goff