Inspiration for good beginnings, the Gruene family began their life in New Braunfels
The historic Gruene Estate has endured the many years of change associated with New Braunfels since its original construction. The wooden structure, located at 532 Rock Street on a half acre of property, was first purchased by Ernst Gruene in 1856. Growing up in Hannover, Germany, Ernst heard stories about the free world, a place that was absent of high taxes and military obligations. Many of these stories included rumors of available land and the idyllic personal freedom it might provide. He married Antoinette Kloepper on August 7, 1845, and soon thereafter left on an adventurous voyage to America and a new life in Texas.
The Gruenes arrived in New Braunfels on May 15, 1846, with their final destination to be Fredericksburg. According to Roberta Mueller’s Oma, Tell Me About the Older Times, Ernst decided to stay in New Braunfels and rented a small log cabin on Comal Street where their first child Ernst Jr. was born. Their second homestead was Rio Vista where their second son, Heinrich Jacob Julius Gruene was born. Finally, they moved to the 10 acre tract on Gruene Estate where their only daughter Johanna was born.
Ernst Gruene’s first and most productive structure for the family’s provision was a barn, known today as the “Welsh Barn”, where they lived until Ernst built an accommodating home facing the open land. The Gruene Estate structure is where the family began their commerce endeavors. In 1872 the Gruene brothers established the Thornhill Steam Mills on the east bank of the Guadalupe River, the area today know as Gruene. The Gruene family was imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit and soon became one of the more successful families in the New Braunfels area providing cattle, milk, butter, vegetables, and later establishing a mercantile store, dance hall, post office, and more.
The Gruene Estate home was the center of business for the Gruene family, a home where many gathered under the same roof diligently contributing to the progressive building of a community. They reflected the attributes of family, community, education, diligence, hard work, and perseverance through their endeavors. Giving back to the community continues in the little Gruene house on Gruene Estate. It is currently owned by Dr. Daniel and Anna Lisa Tamez, who have retained the integrity of the farmhouse’s historical architecture and have respected it’s heritage during functional upgrades and restorations, including the purchase of 10 acres behind the home in order to restore the property to its original size. It is now open as a vacation rental in order that people of all ages can experience the history that created the area of New Braunfels and Gruene. By offering the grounds to the public, the Tamez family reflects the diligence to progress the community through the same attributes of the Ernst Gruene family. The yard is still filled with laughter, and most importantly, the families that come to Gruene Estate are still being afforded the opportunity to spend time with friends and family.