Water, water everywhere
But for faucets you need some head
So up go water towers
Municipalities are fed.
Largely a tourist attraction today, Gruene (originally known as Goodwin) was settled in the mid-nineteenth century by German farming families. Renamed Gruene (pronounced ‘green’) after 1903 when the U. S. mail rural free delivery route was established, the town remembers the the key movers and shakers, the Gruene family. Son of 1872 pioneer Ernst Gruene, Henry (Heinrich) D. Gruene (after deciding the cowboy life was not for him) and his family dominated town affairs. Most of the remaining structures that comprise the Gruene Historical District were erected under his direction, and the extended Gruene family called the town home, and managed most of the businesses.
Cotton had been introduced into the area in 1852 and by the 1870s was recognized as the number one cash crop. Heinrich acquired enough cotton-producing land to support between twenty and thirty tenant-farm families, and he assigned plots of 100 to 200 acres to each. To serve "his" farming community, H.D. built a town, beginning with the mercantile. This was followed by the cotton gin, powered by water from the Guadalupe River. H.D. also set up a lumber yard in conjunction with his mercantile store and sold longleaf pine used in building barns and the three and four room houses of the tenant farmers. A bank was added, and H.D. also provided land for a school and served for a time as postmaster. In addition, he built a dance hall and saloon (1878). Providing entertainment for the tenants and surrounding farmers, Gruene Hall was the center of the community's social life – and remained in operation through boom and bust.
Dominating the 'skyscape,' this 100-foot water tower was also built "by" H.D. shortly before his death in 1920. According to the Historic District application narrative (accessible via the Texas Historic Atlas), the water tower and the four or five water hydrants located along Seguin and Austin Streets were probably built sometime between 1916 and 1920 when H. D. Gruene platted the town into lots and blocks and proposed streets.
Texas Historic Atlas: Comal County: National Register of Historic Places: Gruene Historic District Reference Number: 75001962 (visit link
(I apologize, their link only goes to the main atlas page, you'll have to click from there, but it's a long and interesting narrative, outlining all the supporting buildings.)
The Water Tower is #7 in the list/description of the supporting buildings: "In front of the boiler house is a 100-foot water tower (7) built by Henry D. Gruene shortly before his death in 1920. The 100-foot water tower and the four or five water hydrants located along Seguin and Austin Streets were probably built sometime between 1916 and 1920 when H. D. Gruene platted the town into lots and blocks and proposed streets. The tower can be seen from several miles away and reflects the ambitions of the town's patriarch, Henry D. Gruene."
Greune Hall website (visit link
Greune Texas website (visit link
) (visit link
Touring Texas 'Greune' (visit link
The Handbook of Texas Online: “Greune” (visit link
The Handbook of Texas Online: “Gruene Hall” (visit link
Wikipedia: “Greune Hall” (visit link
Wikipedia: “Greune, TX” (visit link
German American Pioneers “Greune Hall” (visit link
National Park Service: “Gruene Historic District” (visit link
Guide to Texas Outside: “Gruene, Texas - Fun Things to See & Do” (visit link
Official Gruene Brochure www.gruenetexas.com/downloads/gruene-brochure.pdf
Note: Gruene Historic District is also Waymarked: WMAE0E
As mentioned above, the link to the narrative regarding the historic properties takes you only to the Texas Atlas main page. There is no way to link to the specific listing. Once you are in the Atlas, select Comal from the county list, then check National Register Properties. Select Greune Historic District from the list (currently -- 1/3/11 -- 13 strong). Enjoy!