The Texas Hill Country Trails town of Fredericksburg, established in 1846 as a German colony, served as one community in a planned series of German settlements meant to extend from the Texas coast to the Llano River and beyond. The Fredericksburg site, with its abundance of water, stone and timber, convinced founder John O. Meusebach to bring a wagontrain of 120 settlers from New Braunfels to the site, providing each settler one town lot and ten acres of nearby farmland. Meusebach called the surveyed property “Fredericksburg” after Prince Frederick of Prussia, a supporter of the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas, an alliance also known as the Adelsverein. The colony’s early start provided an impressive collection of architectural gems that can be seen today, including some of the best examples of Fachwerk, a German vernacular design composed of upright timbers supporting plastered, whitewashed and rock-filled walls. Fredericksburg builders were also fond of native limestone, creating some of the Hill Country’s best and earliest masonry.
Today, visitors still enjoy the feel of a 19th century Fredericksburg due to the excellent preservation and restoration work of modern-day Fredericksburgers, and the community’s efforts to draw tourism include shopping, museums, historic walking tours, vineyards, brew pubs, art galleries, and over three hundred bed and breakfast establishments. Stop in the visitor information center at 302 East Austin Street and pick up a walking tour guide for the downtown historic district. Over 700 historically significant structures are found in the Fredericksburg historic district. In order for this to be a manageable walking tour, 30 sites were selected to give visitors a flavor of the Fredericksburg story and the architectural styles that have evolved over the decades.