Historic Fuchs House focus of HSB town hall Oct. 5

Could Conrad L. Fuchs (1834-1898) be looking from his 19th Century photographic portrait to a 21st Century future when the home he built for his familiy would become the historic centerpiece of Burnet County's youngest city? The City of Horseshoe Bay Fuchs House Advisory Committee will hold a town hall meeting Thursday, Oct. 5, to share information and hear ideas about restoration of the building, now city property.

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Sitting on a high bluff, overlooking Lake LBJ and the Colorado River in the distance, the Conrad Fuchs House (pronounced Fox) is the oldest structure in Horseshoe Bay. Built of local field stone, this pioneer-style German home served not only as the family's homestead, but also as post office and schoolhouse for a burgeoning community of German settlers in the south end of Burnet County.

Today, the historic home is owned by the City of Horseshoe Bay, having been deeded back to the city by Horseshoe Bay Resort in July. The mission of the Fuchs House Advisory Committee and city officials is now to rehabilitate the property and restore it as a working museum to showcase the area's heritage.

To take inventory of what is on the property and raise awareness of the need to preserve it, the Fuchs House Advisory Committee and the city jointly held a tour of the Fuchs House for elected officials and select media last week.

This place isn't just for the people of Horseshoe Bay, but for everyone in Burnet and Llano counties,” said Horseshoe Bay mayor Steve Jordan. “We don't have that many monuments in this area and we all need to do our best to restore this place so we can then enjoy it.

I am comfortable that things are going to move forward now and we are not going to wait for things to happen, but we are going to make them happen.”

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the most obvious thing that concerns us right away is the roof,” said Francie Dix, chairman of the Fuchs House Advisory Committee. “We need to have restoration specialists come in to look at it and whatever we have to do is going to take money. We will be working with grant writers on this.

We are going to need to bring in a cleaning crew, but this place looks pretty good for having been locked up for four years,” Dix said. “We have already gotten started on an initial inventory of identifying what period some of the items are from.”

Town Hall Meeting

Dix said a town hall meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 5, at 3 p.m. at city hall for the public to learn more about the Fuchs House property and what they can do to help.

We are going to ask for RSVPs because if it does blow up to 200 people, we are going to have to move it to the HSB POA,” Dix said. “The committee will be there in force and we are putting together a fact sheet and slide presentation. This is about giving everyone a chance to get involved.”

Other members of the Fuchs House Advisory Committee — which was established Oct. 15, 2013, to act as an advisory committee in the development, supervision, and administration of the affairs of the Fuchs House and property — include Donna Bateman, Virginia Roberts and Mike Widler.

City Council member Cynthia Clinesmith is serving as liaison between the council and the committee, a role that Jordan once held before becoming mayor of Horseshoe Bay in 2014.

Dix said the city has established a fund through First United Bank for donations from the public to help fund renovations at the Fuchs House and to serve as seed money for matching grants from the Texas Historical Commission, Lower Colorado River Authority and other entities.

It doesn't matter how much you can give, because all of those donations are going to add up as everything we are going to be going for is matching grants,” Dix said.”All you have to do is write in the memo line of your check that it is for Save the Fuchs House and it will go in that account and be designated for the Fuchs House.

We have people stopping us at Bayside Market, at H-E-B, at the post office and at the church, asking, 'How can I help?'” Dix added. “They all have stories and they all want to be involved and we want them to be involved.”

Burnet County Judge James Oakley, who was among those who toured the facility for the first time, expressed his support for the restoration efforts.

This is such a treasure and it is so neat to see if for the first time,” Oakley said. “I can tell you that you can count on Burnet County Tourism Department being a strong partner in this project, starting sooner than later.”

Conrad Fuchs

German-born Conrad Fuchs came to America in 1846, arriving in Galveston with a Texas land grant. He moved to Burnet County in 1853 with his father, the Rev. Adolfus Fuchs (1805-1885), a Lutheran pastor, and his mother Luise Johanna Ruemker Fuchs (1809-1886). Conrad married first-generation Texan Anna E. Perlitz in Fayette County in 1861 and moved into a log cabin on the Fuchs property, which was granted to him by the state of Texas on May 15, 1862. During the Civil War, Conrad served the Confederacy in an artillery unit.

After the Civil War, Conrad Fuchs built a steam grist and saw mill on nearby Tiger Creek and when the Tiger Mill post office opened on Sept. 2, 1872, Conrad Fuchs was named postmaster.

He built his house to accommodate the post office as well as a growing family of six children.
Built of field stone in the pioneer German style, the house boasted a large central hall, shingled roof and plastered interior. Anna Fuchs taught area school children in the home as well.

After Conrad Fuchs death on Feb. 16, 1898, Anna Fuchs sold the property and moved to Knippa, Texas, where she died and was buried in 1923. Eventually, the Fuchs House was restored in 1972-1973, when it was used as a museum until it was purchased by the Horseshoe Bay Resort, which intended to open an overnight children's camp on the property. However, because the property was outside the main resort footprint, it was never developed as such.

Adolfus, Luise and Conrad Fuchs are buried in the Fuchs Cemetery, which is now located in Cottonwood Shores, on the south side of the Colorado River.

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