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We can thank Prince Carl for Weihnachtsmarkt next week

By Myra Lee Adams Goff

Next week Nov. 21, 22, 23 begins Weihnachtsmarkt, the primary fund-raiser for the non-profit Sophienburg Museum and Archives. Co-chairmen Ginger Doherty and Allison Humphries announce that the shopping extravaganza will be returning to the new Civic Center. It will be an experience in old world German charm. Using the beautiful painted murals loaned by the Wurstfest as a background, the area will be transformed into a tree-filled decorated village.

Sophie’s Shop booth will have a huge selection of Inge® ornaments from Germany. In addition, sixty five booths will have a wide variety of items. There will be food at the Kaffee Haus, and tremendous raffle prizes.Call the Sophienburg at 629-1572 to find out details for Breakfast With Santa and the Gala to be held Thursday, the 20th.

I suppose one could say that Prince Carl started Weihnachtsmarkt in 1845. How, you ask? He was the one who named Sophienburg (Sophie’s castle), where the museum was later built.

Here we are, 163 years later and we’re still talking about the prince, even if he was here only 2 ½ months. Who was this man? He was born on July 12, 1812, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig George Alexander, Prince of Solms, Lord of Braunfels, Greifenstein Muenzinberg Wildenfels. He was chosen as the Commissioner General for the Adelsverein, an organization to which he belonged in Germany, to lead emigrants to Texas. He was born near Braunfels on the Lahn River. He was a “blue blood” aristocrat. His calling card could have
Writer and educator Curt Schmidt quoted the following from “Texas, 1844-1845”: “He was a man of great ability, but mismanagement by his predecessors made the success of his project doubtful before it ever started”. The reference was to the fact that the emigrants were promised 300 acres and only given 10 acres and a town lot. The general feeling at the time was one of betrayal on the part of the emigrants. contained, “Nephew of Queen Victoria”. His mother was her sister.  Educated by private tutors for his role as prince, he mastered German, English, and French. He was trained for a military career, which he pursued his entire life, except for the time from 1844-1845 when he accepted the challenge of the Texas emigration project.

By 1870 when the colonists celebrated their 25th anniversary, they began to see the prince in another perspective, consequently, the prince was extended an invitation to the celebration and although he did not attend, the following letter was read throughout the celebration: (“Neu Braunfelser Jahrbuch”, 1981 by Curt Schmidt)
To the Citizens of New Braunfels,

My sincere thanks for the kindly remembrance of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the City of New Braunfels. The same surprised me greatly and pleased me no less. Prestige and good fortune to the people who have established their hearths in Texas. God grant my beloved countrymen in New Braunfels a successful future. Please do not forget me in the coming years. I think of you much and often.

With warm affection,
Carl, Prinz zu Solms
K.K. Fieldmarschall-Lieutenant
Wiesbaden, May 16, 1870

Dear Prince Carl,
Perhaps you can be with us in spirit at Weihnachtsmarkt. We think you would like what we have done at “Sophie’s Castle”.
The Sophienburg Museum and Archives

Mayor Harry Alves and Sophienburg President Fred Oheim accept a gift of the portraits of Prince Carl

Mayor Harry Alves and Sophienburg President Fred Oheim accept a gift of portraits of Prince Carl's parents, Princess Fredericka and Prince Frederick, in 1965.