This tiny hill country hamlet where "Everybody's Somebody" was established as a Trading Post in 1849 making it one of the oldest settlements in Gillespie County. The Post Office/ General Store/ Beer Joint, was first opened in 1886 by August Engel, an itinerant preacher from Germany, who 's daughter Minna chose the name Luckenbach in honor of her fiancÚ, Albert Luckenbach. (Herr Luckenbach, a prolific fellow, also founded another little town called what else? Albert, not far away).
The Trading Post catered to pioneer farmers and Comanche Indians alike. A steam-powered cotton gin was built on the banks of Grape Creek in 1879, and operated with varying degrees of success until it finally closed in 1929. By 1885, the community boasted a blacksmith shop and a consolidated school. There was even a local legend Jacob Brodbeck, who is documented to have flown a heavier-than-air craft (powered by clocklike springs rather than an internal combustion engine) decades before the Wright Brothers.
In 1970 Luckenbach, which remained in the hands of the Engel family the whole time, fell into eclipse. Benno Engel retired as postmaster and placed an ad in the local paper: "TOWN FOR SALE" lock, stock and dancehall.
At this point, Luckenbach 's second life began. Luckenbach was purchased by a collection of only-in-Texas characters Hondo Crouch and his cohorts, Guich Koock and Kathy Morgan, who had what might charitably be described as over-active imaginations. Hondo imagined it was an old west fairy-tale-like principality and gave everybody titles. He formed a make-believe town and proclaimed himself Mayor. He made Marge the Sheriff and appointed ambassadors to foreign countries. The trio began to use the nearly-abandoned buildings as a backdrop for anything that smacked of mirth and diversion: "Hug-Ins", a Luckenbach World 's Fair, Ladies State Chili Bust, the Mud Dauber Festival and daily sessions of song-picking, domino playing and beer drinking beneath the 500-year-old oak trees. Today, over thirty years later, these events are still celebrated and the pickers are still pickin' out under the big oak trees.
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