Downtown New Braunfels Points of Interest
After its founding in 1845, downtown was the center of the community’s business, government, and social activity. Take a trip back in time on your trip to downtown New Braunfels.
Comal County Courthouse
Noted architect, James Riely Gordon, designed this beautiful Romanesque Revival structure which was completed in 1898. Gordon’s design was chosen from among six designs in a competition for the courthouse’s construction, which cost a whopping $36,000! In 2013. The building was completely restored to its 1898 form, including its pink courtroom, which can be witnessed on a self-guided tour.
In 1845, Nicholas Zink platted the roadways in New Braunfels with aesthetics, heritage, and social well-being foremost in his mind. Hence, Main Plaza or “Platz.” This beautiful spot of land in the center of town was where business got done, social events took place, and people just spent time together in Gemütlichkeit. Adding a fountain in 1895 and a bandstand in 1905 helped ensure it was still the center of attention.
New Braunfels Railroad Museum
This structure was built in 1907 by the International and Great Northern Railroad. It served the community well until the depot closed and began being used as a museum in 1986. Today, the depot has been restored, and features displays large and small – from a velocipede to a telegraphy system to uniforms to actual train cars!
The “Modern Theatre in the Beauty Spot of Texas” opened in 1942 by showing “Birth of the Blues,” starting Bing Crosby and Mary Martin for 30 cents admission. Since then, the theatre has transformed from a movie house into a beautifully-renovated performing arts theatre featuring national touring acts and local performers.
New Braunfels Fire Museum
The city’s first fire station was completed in 1918. Surprisingly, this station served as Fire Station No. 1 in New Braunfels until 1987, when a new Fire Station No. 1 was built next door. In 1993 the station was converted into a museum showcasing the history of the city’s firefighting from hose carts, early motorized fire trucks, and even buckets used by local citizens who were part of the “bucket brigade.”
In 1845, Prince Carl chose this location to build Sophienburg (Sophie’s Castle) for his fiancé, Lady Sophia. Plans changed and what occupies the land today is a museum chronicling the history of New Braunfels. Visitors can enjoy an extensive collection of artifacts and even perform geneological research in one of the state’s most comprehensive collections of German emigration archives.
New Braunfels Outdoor Art Museum
Everything is bigger in Texas – even the artwork! Since 1999, building-sized murals have been popping up all over downtown. From a mural portraying prehistoric New Braunfels to the city’s founding to its daily life to its hispanic heritage to a salute to Spass und Gemütlichkeit, these giant artworks present a huge amount of New Braunfels history.