Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date



Fredericksburg, Texas was founded in 1846 by German settlers under the sponsorship of the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas. The Society, composed of a group of German noblemen, was to provide the immigrants with transportation, land, and assistance in making settlements, and the settlers were faced with considerable difficulties after the Society's collapse. The immigrants were primarily farmers and village craftsmen from the central uplands of Germany, a hilly region which bore a striking resemblance to the Fredericksburg area's. But the dissimilarities, the settlement areas' higher, widely fluctuating temperatures, arid its erratic rainfall caused by its location on the edge of the Great Plains, were much more prominent. The houses common in the source regions in Germany were the Einhaus, in which living quarters, barns, and stalls were combined under one roof, and the Middle German house, in which the various functions were housed in separate buildings grouped around a central courtyard. The settlement form most common was the Haufendorf, or compact, irregular village, in which the farmstead structures were located in the village, the fields some distance from it. It was expected that the settlers would follow the same settlement form in Texas, for they were allotted a half-acre lot in town and a ten-acre farm outside of town. Because of the availability of land at low cost, the settlers soon bought land and settled in an ever-widening circle around Fredericksburg. The settlers first built log cabins for shelter; then, as they were able, they built more permanent houses. Houses of Fachwerk construction, or half-timbering, were built during the period 1847-1850. The interstices of Fachwerk walls had on occasion been filled with limestone, and when it proved to be load-bearing, walls were built of limestone, beginning in 1850. The house most commonly built had one room, a bedroom­sitting room, or Stube, with an attic or half-story above it for sleeping, and a room behind it, built as a lean-to, used as a kitchen. The house was generally built close to the street with the ridge of the roof parallel to it. This type of house was built until the 1880's when two-storied houses, generally two rooms wide were built. In the late 1880's, architect-designed houses were built introducing the Italian Villa or Italianate style in the area, which was reflected in houses built just before and after the turn of the century. Building with rock declined about 1910, after concrete block was introduced and lumber became readily available. The houses built in Fredericksburg were a unique combination of traditional preferences and building practices with Anglo-American styles of building and elements made necessary or practical by the warmer Texas climate. With the use of native materials, the houses are unique to the area.



Document Type


Degree Name


Second Degree


Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Bainbridge Bunting

Second Committee Member

Michel Louis Roger Pillet

Third Committee Member

Ferenc Morton Szasz

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Architecture Commons