La Vernia is a city in Wilson County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,034 at the 2010 census. It is part of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area.
|Nickname(s): L V, Bear Country|
|Motto: This is Bear Country|
Location of La Vernia, Texas
|Coordinates: 29°21′19″N 98°7′5″W|
The area known as present-day La Vernia was first inhabited by indigenous American Indians of the Coahuiltecan speaking peoples of Texas and subsequently by nomadic bands of Apaches and Commanches who migrated to Texas in the 17th century. One of the earliest land grants made was to Erastus "Deaf" Smith, also known as Deaf Smith. Deaf Smith married Guadalupe Ruiz Durán, a Mexican citizen who was descended from one of the original Tejano or Spanish Texas families; and as such, received a land grant from the Mexican government on the Cibolo River, north of present-day La Vernia in 1825. This area remained primarily unsettled by Europeans until 1837, when veterans from the recent wars of Independence from Mexico began to arrive.
W. R. Wiseman of Mississippi, who organized a Presbyterian church at the site around 1851, is said to have named the place Live Oak Grove.Although, in 1853 William Claiborne Rector was the postmaster at the local post office and during this time the town was still called Post Oak.
The town's current name came from the local Spanish vernacular for "green oaks", or "La Vernia“. Hence, the Brahan Masonic lodge was first established at "La Vernia" in 1859. The building also served as a school and church.
German and Polish immigration brought the population to 110 by 1885. The community was now served by three churches, a steam gristmill, and a cotton gin. H. Suhre was the owner of the general store. During this time the major crop grown was corn, being it was so universally useful. Cotton also proved to be an important commodity. In present day La Vernia, corn and cotton are still major crops.
In 1890, La Vernia had a population of 200. Construction of the San Antonio and Gulf Railroad across the area in 1893 brought the population to 343 by 1900. A two-teacher school was in operation by 1896. Classes grew to be so large, that they had to move out of the Masonic lodge. The enrollment had grown to sixty-six children.
By 1915, the town operated two gins, a bank, four churches, a pottery plant, a brick works, and supported a population of 500. In 1947, seventeen businesses would provide much attraction, to more and more people, over the coming years. In 1965, population had increased to 700 residents and twenty-five businesses.
The community incorporated around 1966, and in 1990, had a population of 639 and thirty-six businesses and a gas station called "Tommy's Exxon", owned by Bonnie and Thomas Kravitz, and assisted by their son, Samuel Kravitz. La Vernia experienced out-migration and a subsequent population drop, due to the lure of the big city atmosphere and larger job markets available in neighboring San Antonio, Floresville and Canyon Lake. Many larger towns were getting very popular about this time.
In 2000, La Vernia had 136 businesses and a population of 931. The census of 2005 La Vernia had a population of 1,087 of people. In 2010 a new shopping area was built just west of town on Hwy 87, including a new H-E-B grocery store and gas station. A longtime grocer, Baumann's Grocery store, closed at the time HEB opened.
La Vernia is a thriving rural community located on State Highway 87, 25 miles east of San Antonio, Texas. La Vernia is in the rich oil and gas play known as the Eagle Ford Shale.
National food chains include: Dairy Queen, Golden Chick, Pizza Hut, Sonic, Subway, Taco Bell, and Whataburger. Family-owned restaurants include: the Bluebonnet, Buffalo Joes, Caparelli's Italian Restaurant, La Vernia Chinese Cuisine, Mr. Tim's Country Kitchen, Taste of Chicago, and Witte's Bar-B-Que. Mexican cuisine can be found at Sammy's, Busy Bear, Los Compadres, and Alondra's. Groceries are available at HEB, Family Dollar, and Dollar General. Specialty foods can be found at Simply Sweet, the Daily Grind, and Donut Palace.
Farm and ranch supplies and western wear can be purchased at the La Vernia Country Store. Hardware is available at the Big Bear Home Center and The Mill. La Vernia is home to Koepp Chevrolet, a full-service automobile dealership. Napa Auto Parts is the community's source for automobile parts. Appliances and cooking supplies can be purchased at GVEC Home Services and Smith Propane.
Manufacturers in La Vernia include: Kayco Spray Booths, Aire Plastics, Red Apple Industries, and Leather King. Oil and gas service companies serving the Eagle Ford Shale include: D&D Power Systems, Old School Services, Coastal Flow, VZ Environmental and Connect Transport.
The La Vernia Heritage Museum displays artifacts and memorabilia relating to the history and development of the city.