By Myra Lee Adams Goff —
To know the history of New Braunfels is to know the history of Comaltown. This is somewhat true but not entirely. In 1845, there were two towns, separated only by the Comal River‘s original channel which basically runs from Landa Park Lake between the golf course and Schlitterbahn.
Let’s look at the 1840s map of the two-league Veramendi tract to locate where these two settlements were. I found the map in the abstract of my property. It is very crude and not to scale but you can get the idea. A portion of area No. 1 makes up the original city of New Braunfels. Areas No. 2, No. 3 and part of No. 4 were Comaltown. All of the area was owned by the Juan Veramendi family. The name Veramendi lives on even today with a new subdivision by that name. Juan Martin de Veramendi, born in San Antonio in 1778, was a politician during the Spanish and Mexican periods in the history of Texas. He married Maria Josefa Navarro, who was from a prominent family, and the couple had seven children. Veramendi received two Mexican land grants in Comal County. One consisted of 8,856 acres (two leagues as pictured) and the other 4,300 acres (one league) above the Balcones Escarpment. The Veramendi subdivision is part of the one-league grant. Juan Veramendi died in Monclova, Mexico in 1833 from cholera.
After Juan Verimendi died, the Veramendi lands were divided in the 1840s and the two-league property divided further into five parcels. All were awarded to heirs of Veramendi who eventually sold the properties. A portion of area No. 1 was sold to Prince Carl for the new settlement of New Braunfels.
When the Texas Legislature incorporated New Braunfels in May of 1846, the town of Comaltown (areas No. 2, 3 and 4) was included as part of New Braunfels. In 1850, forty-five Comaltown citizens petitioned the legislature to become a separate city and to change the boundaries. The petition was rejected so Comaltown remained part of NB.
Ferdinand Roemer writes about early Texas, “A speculative American had laid out a new city between the fork of the Comal and the Guadalupe within view of the city of New Braunfels called Comaltown.” Roemer was referring to Daniel Murchison, agent for Maria Antonia Veramendi Garza. Comal Town (named originally to be a separate town) was laid out in area No. 4 by Maria and Rafael Garza. The plaza in the middle is where the Christus Santa Rosa Hospital lies. It originally was a plaza given by the Garzas to the people who bought lots in the Comal Town subdivision.
The subdivision of Braunfels was later platted in 1868 in area No. 3 and contained a plaza that later became the location of Lamar School. The large dance hall, Echo Halle, now Eagles Hall, is in this area. Area No. 2 was the last area of Comaltown to be subdivided. Initially, it had been purchased by Mather and Richardson.
During the flood of 1972, Comaltown became an island. It was surrounded by water – the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers and Blieders Creek. Some of the lower lands, like the golf course and Landa Estates, were completely inundated but most of the area was above water. Many city landmarks were located on dry ground such as the New Braunfels Hospital, the Comal Cemetery, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cemetery, Panteon Hidalgo Cemetery, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery and the Comal County Fairgrounds.
My home was, and still is, in the middle of the Braunfels Subdivision. I remember the flood well. With no electricity, no fresh water, no cars, no ambulances, the only noise that could be heard was the rushing of flood water as it picked up trees and buildings along the banks. The most devastating loss was that of fourteen lives.
Back to the beginning: As time passed from 1845, many businesses sprang up in the Comaltown area especially along Union Avenue. There were grocery stores, a gas station, saloons, a funeral home, mechanics and churches. As New Braunfels’ city limits grew, Comaltown did not. It was a land-locked area. Many Victorian style homes as well as small craftsmen style homes were built. Many of the homes were built by Adolph and Alwin Moeller. My Comaltown family connection begins with the Moeller family. On Austin Street, there is a three-story beautiful rock home that was built in the early 1850s by Johann George Moeller, grandfather of Adolph and Alwin Moeller. Johann finished the hand-hewn rock home in 1857. It remained in the Moeller family until it was sold to Schlitterbahn a few years back.
Both the Moeller brothers established themselves in New Braunfels construction. Many of the buildings in downtown New Braunfels were built by Adolph or Alwin Carl (A.C.) Moeller. Occasionally you can look at the old sidewalks and see the name A.C. Moeller Contractor. My friend David Hartmann and I claim Johann Moeller as our first ancestor in the Comaltown area. Johann Moeller is my g-g-grandfather and he is David’s g-g-g-grandfather. David and I both grew up in Comaltown. Yes, 20 years apart.
In the next few articles, David and I will tell you about what we remember about Comalstadt from the 1940s and the 1960s. We often get together and share remembrances about the good old days in Comaltown. Perhaps we will tell you about the social life, businesses, churches and schools.
My dad used to say that everything that relates to property changes value every 25 years, sometimes good and sometime bad. I think Comaltown is changing for the good.