Friday, July 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Summer: Comal River

The prompt for Week 28 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is Summer.

What was summer like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

I grew up in Houston, Texas - hot and humid in the summer.  I'd say the biggest influence of the season was on keeping cool.  One of the ways we did that was vacationing someplace with great swimming, like the Frio River, or the Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas.

My first memories of New Braunfels are kinda vague.  I think we went there in the summer of 1966, the year before I got my own camera, so I don't have any photos.  I do know that we stayed at a place called Stockade Cedar Lodges. [ETA:  It was 1965 - my sister had some photos.]

In the summer of 1969, we went with our family friends the Tiltons to Heidelberg Lodges.  It had cabins you could rent by the week, and was at the headwaters of the Comal River, where most of the Comal Springs were.  There was a neat little ferry to cross the river, and some interesting stairs on the other side, a pool, and paddleboats to rent.  My research shows that this site was originally called Ulbricht's Summer Resort, and it dates back to the 1930s.
Right: My siblings in front of
our Heidelberg Lodges cottage, 1969

Above left: Julie Tilton & Karen Pape slide into the pool.
Above right: The Marys (Tilton & Pape) on the ferry.
Left: Mark and Mary Pape on the hillside.
Below right: Papes and Tiltons on a paddleboat.
Below left: Papes in Founders' Oak, Landa Park.

When we went to New Braunfels, we'd always go to Landa Park. It had a huge spring-fed swimming pool and was icy cold on even the hottest days, not to mention being quite a scenic park with the river and springs and numerous huge oak trees.


We also went to Camp Warnecke for the day, to shoot the rapids on inner tubes.  The old German Naegelin Bakery in town, the oldest in Texas (since 1868), was another popular stop, with its apple strudel, bear claws, and Pfefernuesse.

Naegelin's and Heidelberg Lodges are still there (although the latter is not the same, having been wiped out at one point by the numerous flash floods in the area and rebuilt differently).  However, the Stockade Cedar Lodges (around 1979) and Camp Warnecke (in 1991), along with many other old resorts along the river, were absorbed into the fabulous Schlitterbahn Water Park, which I visited in 1999.  You could "stay where you play" in some of the original cottages and motel rooms of these old resorts.

Ads are from a 1968 map of New Braunfels.  Black-and-white photos of Landa Park are from 1975-76; color photos of Landa Park are from 1999 (gazebo) and 2004.

Here's a link to wonderful website with beautiful old postcards of Comal Springs, Landa Park, and the old resorts.

And here's another blogger with New Braunfels memories.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

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