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U.S. Post Office in Luckenbach, 1850-1971
Everybody's somebody in Luckenbach.
Location within the state of Texas
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Luckenbach (// LOO-kin-bahk) is an unincorporated community 13 miles (19 km) from Fredericksburg in southeastern Gillespie County, Texas, United States, part of the Texas Hill Country. Luckenbach is known as a venue for country music.
On December 15, 1847, a petition was submitted to create Gillespie County. In 1848, the Texas Legislature formed Gillespie County from Bexar and Travis Counties. While the signatories were overwhelmingly German immigrants, names also on the petition were Castillo, Peña, Muños, and a handful of non-German Anglo names.
Its oldest building is a combination general store and saloon reputedly opened in 1849 (1886 is more likely, based on land improvement records of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission) by Minna Engel, whose father was an itinerant minister from Germany. The community, first named Grape Creek (perhaps really a faulty spelling of "Gap Creek", the literal meaning of "Luckenbach" in German), was later renamed after Engel's husband, Carl Albert Luckenbach. They later moved to another town that became Albert, Texas. Luckenbach was first established as a community trading post, one of a few that never broke a peace treaty with the Comanche Indians, with whom they traded.
Luckenbach's population increased to a high of 492 in 1904, but by the 1960s it was almost a ghost town. A newspaper advertisement offering "town — pop. 3 — for sale" led actor Guich Koock and Hondo Crouch, a rancher and Texas folklorist, to buy Luckenbach for $30,000 in 1970, in partnership with Kathy Morgan. Hondo's wife, Shatzi, paid for the town, and Guich's wife, Patricia, worked as the bartender and bookkeeper giving their husbands all the glory. Guich used the town's rights as a municipality to govern the dance hall as he saw fit. The town has been host to many unique festivals including the Luckenbach Women's Chili Cookoff and The 1st Luckenbach World's Fair, where Willie Nelson made a surprise appearance.
Today Luckenbach maintains a ghost-town feel with its small population and strong western aesthetic. One of its two main buildings houses the remnants of a post office, a working saloon, and a general store. The other is the dance hall. The post office was closed on April 30, 1971, and its zip code (78647) was retired. The general store remains active as a souvenir shop where visitors can purchase a variety of items, including merchandise featuring the town's motto "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach", postcards, T-shirts, sarcastic and humorous signs, and the local newspaper, the 8-page monthly Luckenbach Moon.
It consists of 9.142 acres (37,000 m2) between South Grape Creek (a tributary of the Pedernales River) and Snail Creek, just south of U.S. Highway 290 on the south side of Ranch to Market Road 1376. This location is roughly 50 miles (80 km) north of San Antonio and 69 miles (111 km) west of Austin. The Luckenbach website lists "412 Luckenbach Town Loop, Fredericksburg, TX 78624" as the physical address for GPS navigation.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Stonewall has a humid subtropical climate, Cfa on climate maps.
|Climate data for Luckenbach, Texas|
|Average high °F (°C)||61.0
|Average low °F (°C)||38.0
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.5
|Average precipitation days||4||4||4||3||5||4||3||3||4||4||4||4||46|
- Lt. Colonel Alfred P.C. Petsch—(1887–1981) Lawyer, legislator, civic leader, and philanthropist born in Luckenbach. Served in the Texas House of Representatives, World War I, and World War II.
Guinness world record
"Pickin' for the Record" was a fundraiser held in Luckenbach on August 23, 2009, for the organization Voices of a Grateful Nation. The Guinness world record was broken for the most guitar players gathered at one time to play (continuously for at least five minutes). The Luckenbach record broke the standing German record by 50, with the official count at 1868. The day before the Texas event, Elvis Presley’s guitar player made a similar attempt in Louisiana but only signed up 800 pickers.
Luckenbach hosts live music events each weekend. On Sundays, it is common for visitors to bring instruments and take turns performing informally with others in the crowd. Occasionally, local and regional celebrities drop by. There are recreational vehicle camping spots nearby, along with a small creek. Areas are also set up for washer pitching.
- Waylon Jennings famously referenced the town in his song "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)". Although Jennings didn't care for the song (and had never even been to Luckenbach), he recorded it anyway; it became a #1 country hit and even made it to #25 on the pop charts, making it one of his biggest hits.
- The horror film The Naked Witch was filmed in Luckenbach in 1960. It was directed by Larry Buchanan.
- Luckenbach was the setting for the short lived sitcom Lewis and Clark, which co-starred town owner Guich Koock and Gabe Kaplan.
- "Texan Inventor Jacob Brodbeck Makes World's First Powered Flight". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Reid, Jan (2004). The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. University of Texas Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-292-70197-7.
- "Luckenbach General Store". Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Read The Luckenbach Moon". Retrieved 12 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "The Luckenbach website". luckenbachtx.com. Retrieved 12 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Climate Summary for Stonewall, Texas
- "Luckenbach, Texas". March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
- Watkins, Melanie. "Petsch, Alfred PC". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 12 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Luckenbach Events". Retrieved 12 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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