Everybody's somebody in Luckenbach.
|Elevation||476 m (1,562 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1378619|
Luckenbach (// LOO-kin-bahk) is an unincorporated community 13 miles (19 km) from Fredericksburg in southeastern Gillespie County, Texas. Named for German nobleman Jakob Luckenbach, who helped settle the Texas Hill Country in 1845, Luckenbach is known as a venue for country music and for its German-Texan heritage.
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. 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. In the 1990s, the town was host to several of Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnics.
Today Luckenbach maintains a ghost-town feel with its small population and strong western aesthetic. One of its few main buildings houses the remnants of a post office, a working saloon, and a general store. The other is the dance hall. A recent addition to the town is a new store where guests can find top quality western apparel and "Luckenbach" logo shirts including merchandise featuring the town's motto "Everybody's Somebody in Luckenbach" and other memorabilia. 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 snacks, drinks, postcards, T-shirts, sarcastic and humorous signs, and the local newspaper, the 8-page monthly Luckenbach Moon,  and other souvenir items. In the back of the General Store is a small saloon with a selection of beer and wine.
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 1,868. 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 neither favored the song nor had he ever traveled to Luckenbach, he recorded it nonetheless; it became a #1 country hit and even made it to #25 on the pop charts, making it one of his biggest hits.
- The country band, Midland references the town in their song "She's a Cowgirl", from their soundtrack album The Sonic Ranch.
- The horror film The Naked Witch was filmed in Luckenbach in 1960. It was directed by Larry Buchanan.
- Glam metal band Warrant (American band), with lead singer Jani Lane, mentions Luckenbach in the song "Love in Stereo" from the 1990 album Cherry Pie (album): "Fresh out of Luckenbach, Texas, I didn't expect that pair."
- Luckenbach was the setting for the short lived sitcom Lewis and Clark, which co-starred town owner Guich Koock and Gabe Kaplan.
- Jerry Jeff Walker recorded his live album ¡Viva Terlingua! in Luckenbach in August, 1973.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Luckenbach, Texas
- "How Luckenbach Got Its Name | Official Luckenbach Texas | General Store | Bar | Dancehall".
- "Texan Inventor Jacob Brodbeck Makes World's First Powered Flight". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
- Reid, Jan (2004). The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock. University of Texas Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-292-70197-7.
- Thomas, Dave (21 December 2016). "The (almost) definitive chronology of Willie's Fourth of July Picnics". American-Statesman. Austin 360. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
- "Luckenbach General Store".
- "Read The Luckenbach Moon". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Luckenbach General Store". Archived from the original on 3 November 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "The Luckenbach website". luckenbachtx.com. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- 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.
- "Luckenbach is Pickin for the Record... The Guinness World Record" No Depression (Aug. 23, 2009) Accessed Dec. 28, 2021.
- McCorkle, Robert "Texas pickers strum Germans to set record" Texas Observer (Sept. 16, 2009) Accessed Dec. 28, 2021.
- "Luckenbach Events". Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- Midland – She's A Cowgirl, retrieved 2021-09-17
- "Jerry Jeff Walker's 'Viva Terlingua': Inside the Fringe Country Album". Rolling Stone. 24 October 2020.