Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas
East end of downtown Fredericksburg
East end of downtown Fredericksburg
Official seal of Fredericksburg, Texas
Seal
Nicknames: 
Fritztown, The Burg
Location of Fredericksburg, Texas
Location of Fredericksburg, Texas
Gillespie County Fredericksburg.svg
Coordinates: 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30.27417; -98.87194

Fredericksburg (German: Friedrichsburg) is the seat of Gillespie County, in the U.S. state of Texas.[3] As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 10,530.[4]

Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Old-time German residents often referred to Fredericksburg as Fritztown, a nickname that is still used in some businesses.[5] The town is also notable as the home of Texas German, a dialect spoken by the first generations of German settlers who initially refused to learn English. Fredericksburg shares many cultural characteristics with New Braunfels, which had been established by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels the previous year. Fredericksburg is the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. It is the sister city of Montabaur, Germany.[6] On October 14, 1970, the Fredericksburg Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Texas.[7]

Geography

View of Enchanted Rock

Fredericksburg is located east of the center of Gillespie County at 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30°16′27″N 98°52′19″W / 30.274058; -98.871822 (30.274058, −98.871822).[8] It is 70 miles (110 km) north of San Antonio and 78 miles (126 km) west of Austin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.3 km2), of which 8.6 square miles (22.2 km2) are land and 0.05 square miles (0.12 km2), or 0.55%, are water.[9]

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock Summit Trail
A couple strolling down from the top of Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock is a geographical landmark 17 miles (27 km) north of Fredericksburg in Llano County. The rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome that rises 425 feet (130 m) above the surrounding land, has a summit elevation of 1,825 feet (556 m) above sea level, and covers 640 acres (260 ha). It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States, and was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1970. In 1994, the State of Texas opened it as Enchanted Rock State Natural Area after adding facilities. The same year, Enchanted Rock was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[10][11]

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock was a famous local landmark that perched atop Bear Mountain 10 mi (16 km) north of Fredericksburg.[12] The natural wonder stone pillar, about the size of a small elephant, precariously balanced on its small tip.[13] It fell prey to vandals who dynamited it off its base in April 1986.[14][15]

Cross Mountain

The first known record of Cross Mountain (elevation 1,915 feet (584 m)) was in 1847 by Dr. Ferdinand von Roemer. Native Americans used the location to signal each other about intrusions into their territory. The area was part of settler Dr. John Christian Durst's 10-acre (4.0 ha) allotment. Durst found a timber cross on the mountain, indicating that Spanish missionaries had once used the site. Durst named the place "Kreuzberg" or Cross Mountain. In 1849, Father George Menzel erected a new cross. In 1946, St. Mary's Catholic Church erected a metal and concrete cross. The mountain has been used both for the Easter Fires pageant and for Easter sunrise services. It was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1976.[16]

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