In this article, we enjoyed discovering the fascinating German heritage of the Hill Country region, passed down by brave immigrants seeking refuge from political and religious struggles. You’ll find their cherished traditions and language reflected in the names of these charming towns. Uncover the stories behind the names of Boerne, Comfort, Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, Gruene, Kerrville, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Spring Branch, and Wimberley, each of which has its own unique tale, featuring German authors, royalty, natural wonders, and community leaders.



Kaitie Moore Underwood


Blue Collar Commercial Group


[email protected]


By: Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, Updated: July 24, 2023 2:46 p.m.


The Hill Country’s strong German heritage comes from immigrants who settled in the area seeking sanctuary from political or religious persecution.

They brought their traditions and language to the region. One way that legacy is kept alive is in the names of some of the Hill Country’s cities.

The Express-News used David P. Green’s “Place Names of San Antonio” and Edward Callary’s “Texas Place Names” to find out how Boerne, San Marcos and other Hill Country cities got their names.

Boerne: In 1849, German colonists settled about a mile west of the present Hill Country city of Boerne along the north side of Cibolo Creek. These settlers named the community to honor the German author and publicist, Karl Ludwig Börne. Börne died in 1837, never having stepped foot on American soil.


Charlotte and Maribel Patton, along with their dogs CoCo and BooBoo walk past the yellow ribbons displayed prominently on Main St. in Boerne to memorialize the 13 soldiers who were killed during last year’s U.S. troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. -Robin Jerstad

Comfort: This unincorporated community about 20 minutes northwest of Boerne was settled by German Freethinkers from New Braunfels and Fredericksburg in 1852. The community was laid out by Ernst Hermann Altgelt, a German-born lawyer and real estate investor who lived in San Antonio’s King William neighborhood. There are several theories as to how Comfort got its name, including its association with the German phrase “gemütlicher Platz,” or a comfortable place to settle.

Dripping Springs: According to “Texas Place Names,” the name Dripping Springs was “apparently chosen in the mid-1850s by Indiana ‘Nannie’ Moss for the Glen Ross springs that dripped from overhead limestone formations. The Milk House Branch Spring is often mentioned as the primary source of the name.”


Traditional holiday decorations on the historic buildings downtown Fredericksburg help give the Christmas celebration a German flavor. -Trish McCabe-Rawls/Fredericksbur/San Antonio Express-News

Fredericksburg: Founded in 1846 by German immigrants, the city is named after Prince Frederick of Prussia.

Gruene: Named for Heinrich Gruene, who kept a general store, established a school and managed a dance hall (the same legendary Gruene Hall). A banking, ginning and shipping center in the 1900s, Gruene began to decline by the 1920s after boll weevil beetles infested local crops. The mercantile store and rail depot shuttered with the onset of the Great Depression. Gruene remained a virtual ghost town until the 1970s.

Name Story

Members of the Greater Randolph Area Trail Ride group make a stop in front of Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas while they make their way down to San Antonio for the 2015 Stock Show and Rodeo on Tuesday on Feb. 10, 2015. – Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News

Kerrville: This Hill Country city was initially named Brownsborough, a shingle maker and the area’s first settler. Brown requested that the name be changed to Kerrsville. The “s” was later dropped.

New Braunfels: Now one of the fastest-growing cities in America, this Hill Country city gets its name from royalty. In 1844, Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels was appointed to lead a German emigration company. He led a major group of German immigrants into Texas and settled along a fertile tract near the confluence of the Comal and Guadalupe rivers the following year. He named the site Neu Braunfels, after his family’s home in west central Germany. Braunfels is translated as “brown rocks.”


The Comal River winds by the Landa Park Golf Course, middle left, in New Braunfels, Texas on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. -JERRY LARA/San Antonio Express-News

San Marcos: The name San Marcos was given to the Hill Country river by Spanish explorers in 1689. It’s unclear why, according to “Texas Place Names.” The city is named after the San Marcos springs and the river.

Spring Branch: Perhaps best known by recreation seekers for nearby Canyon Lake, this German-settled town is named for a spring-fed creek that flows into the Guadalupe River.


Cheryl Williams and Maurice Hernandez enjoy the solitude as they share a relaxing day on the shores of Canyon Lake near the dam on Sept. 30, 2020.- Tom Reel/Staff photographer

Wimberley: This city is named after Pleasant Wimberley, who arrived in Texas from North Carolina. He established the compound known as Wimberly Mills, which included a cotton gin and a gristmill.


(Source: Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express News, [email protected])



Your Partners in Commercial Real Estate Success

At Blue Collar Commercial Group, we don’t just work in the Texas Hill Country commercial market—we live here. Our deep-rooted understanding of this unique market, combined with our unmatched expertise in commercial real estate, positions us as your ideal partner for navigating the complexities of office space selection.

From identifying your perfect office space to closing the deal with confidence and ease, our team of seasoned commercial real estate professionals is dedicated to guiding you every step of the way.

Ready to make your mark in the Texas Hill Country commercial real estate landscape?

Contact Blue Collar Commercial Group today. Let us empower you with the insights, resources, and personalized support needed to turn your commercial real estate aspirations into reality.

Reach out to us now and embark on your journey toward commercial real estate excellence in Texas Hill Country.

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About the Author: Kaitie Moore Underwood

Kaitie Moore Underwood
Kaitie Moore Underwood's roots in competitive rodeo in Texas intertwined with her academic pursuits at the University of Houston, where she met her husband, Hank. Their move to the Hill Country in 2021 marked the beginning of both their family and Kaitie's successful career in real estate, assisting 18 families in her first year. With a background in the hospitality industry, recognized for her service excellence by the Starwood Hotel Sales Organization, Kaitie has honed her skills in financial analysis, strategy, and marketing. Now, as a pivotal member of the Blue Collar Commercial Group, she continues her professional ascent, consistently exceeding expectations through her dedication to relationships and solutions.

One Comment

  1. D8Dc0F3098E98Dd325576A063F38D0Ef?S=54&D=Mm&R=G
    Paula Dayoub-Schweizer July 31, 2023 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Love the name history! Thanks

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