Downtown Fredericksburg, Texas

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A visit to the Texas Hill Country will inevitably include a stop in Fredericksburg, Texas.  This tourist-friendly town built by German immigrants is filled with history, antique stores, and good food.

Fredericksburg was founded in 1846, and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia.  The first building to be constructed was the Vereins Kirche, which served as a community church, school, and town hall.  This isn’t the original one — it was torn down in 1896.  The current structure was completed in 1935, and is now part of the Pioneer Museum, which is worth checking out if you have an interest in the area’s German history.

The Gillespie County Courthouse is across the street from the Vereins Kirche and town square.  This one was built in 1939.  The courthouse built in 1882 is next door.

Fredericksburg has several blocks of storefronts, lined up on Main Street.  The town is famous as a place to go antiquing…

… but unfortunately, I had arrived too late in the day.  It amazed me that many of the shops closed as early as 4:30 in the afternoon, even though the streets were obviously still filled with tourists.  It seems like such poor planning, or just a foolish way of doing business.  Why on earth wouldn’t these stores stay open at least until dark, to give all those people a place to go?

With very few shopping options, I wandered down Main Street a little further.   There are many interesting old buildings to photograph, including the old Keidel Memorial Hospital — named for the first doctor in Gillespie County, Wilhelm Keidel.  His son built the hospital.

The Admiral Nimitz Museum also stands out.  It is part of the National Museum of the Pacific War, which spreads across several city blocks in Fredericksburg.  The Nimitz Museum itself is in the historic Nimitz Hotel, but you might want to swing around to Austin Street, one block north of Main, to access some of the other buildings in the museum’s complex.

As I walked around Fredericksburg, I knew I needed to make a decision.  My motel was reserved in Kerrville, about a half-hour away on TX-16.  I could either stay in Fredericksburg for a while and enjoy an authentic German dinner, or hit the road and search for Stonehenge II, a homemande replica of Stonehenge near Kerrville.  If I stopped to eat, I knew I would run out of daylight, but if I drove on, I feared it might be too dark at Stonehenge II to properly enjoy it.  While I’m sure dinner would have been delicious, I decided I wasn’t hungry enough, so I hit the road again.

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