Main Street in Boerne, Texas ca 1890-1900
Location of Boerne, Texas
Boerne (/ˈbɜrni/ bur-nee) is a city in and the county seat of Kendall County,Texas, United States, within the Texas Hill Country. Boerne was named in honor of a Jewish German author and publicist, and its population was 10,471 in the 2010 census. The city is noted for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case City of Boerne v. Flores. Founded in 1849 as Tusculum, the name was changed to Boerne when the town was platted in 1852.
Boerne is part of the San Antonio–New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Boerne is the home of the Guadalupe Valley Poetry Celebration, a regional poetry festival that benefits the Boerne Public Library.
Boerne came into being as an off-shoot of the Texas Hill Country Free Thinker Latin Settlements, resulting from the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states. Those who came were Forty-Eighters, intellectual liberal abolitionists who enjoyed conversing in Latin and who believed in utopian ideals that guaranteed basic human rights to all. They reveled in passionate conversations about science, philosophy, literature, and music The Free Thinkers first settled Castell, Bettina, Leningen. and Schoenburg in Llano County. These experimental communities were supported by the Adelsverein for one year. The communities eventually failed due to lack of finances after the Adelsverein funding expired, and conflict of structure and authorities. Many of the pioneers from these communities moved to Sisterdale, Boerne and Comfort.
In 1849, a group of Free Thinker German colonists from Bettina camped on the north side of Cibolo Creek, about a mile west of the site of present Boerne. They named their new community after Cicero's Tusculum home in ancient Rome. In 1852, John James and Gustav Theissen, who helped settle Sisterdale, platted the townsite, renamed it in honor of German authorKarl Ludwig Börne, with the Anglicized spelling of Boerne. The town was not incorporated until 1909. August Staffell was the original postmaster in 1856.
The 1870 limestone courthouse, second oldest in Texas, was designed by architects Philip Zoeller and J. F. Stendebach, and stands directly across the street from the current 1998 courthouse designed by architects Rehler Vaughn & Koone, Inc.
In the late 1870s, retired British army officers, including Glynn Turquand and Captain Egremont Shearburn, played one of the first polo matches in the United States in Boerne. The polo ground is still visible on Balcones Ranch, bought by Captain Turquand in 1878.
Boerne's robust environment encouraged the health resort industry. Sisters of the Incarnate Word founded the St. Mary's Sanitarium in 1896 for pulmonary patients; Dr. W.E. Wright contracted with the Veterans Administration in 1919 to provide care for World War I veterans suffering from lung ailments; the William L. Sill Tuberculosis Resort operated northwest of Boerne; and Mrs. Adolph (Emilie) Lex opened her home to recovering patients, eventually converting two rooms into operating rooms.
Karl Degener organized the Boerne Gesang Verein (singing club) and the Boerne Village Band in 1860. The family and descendants of Sisterdale resident Baron Ottmar von Behr have included three generations of directors of the Boerne Village Band, and four generations of musicians.The band is billed as "Oldest Continuously Organized German Band in the World outside Germany", and in 1998 the Federal Republic of Germany recognized the Boerne Village Band for its contribution to the German heritage in Texas and America.
Some of the early settlers in Boerne migrated from the collapsed Fisher-Miller Land Grant experimental colonies of the Darmstadt Society of Forty.
Created in the early 2010s, the Hill Country Mile is a 1.1 mile long walking path following River Road Park and historic Main Street. The path was created as a catalyst to unify and preserve the rich cultural identity of downtown Boerne. It was also created to increase and foster economic growth through downtown shopping and culture centers.
Cibolo Nature Center (CNC) comprises over 100 acres of Hill Country trails and wilderness. The center was first opened to the public on Earth Day in 1990 after founder Carolyn Chipman Evans urged the City of Boerne to preserve marshland around Boerne City Park. CNC is maintained through a 501c3 non-profit organization called The Friends of the Cibolo Wilderness. Trails are open every day from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. City Park is in a unique natural setting as it shares a border with Cibolo Creek.