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Wimberley Travel Features


THE HISTORY
of
FISCHER, TEXAS

Lewis Smith
unravels the history
of Fischer...

The story of brothers
Stock and Store Fischer,
dance hall feudin' with Cranes Mill,
and a new post office
that just ain't the same.


 

 

 


Merle Jean Fischer, grand-daughter of Otto “Stock” Fischer with good friend and neighboring rancher Paul Records. Paul’s only a short-timer with about 30 years residence in Fischer “suburbs." Merle Jean is still working the family ranch with help from dog Hank.


 

The two homes in the background were built by Herman (left) and brother Willie Fischer. Gertrude Fischer lives in the former and the latter is a B&B. The red tin building used to be a feed mill associated with the store and the field in the foreground was the site of “Store” Fischer’s cotton gin.

 

Fischer Store. In its third structural “suit” began life as part of Herman “Store” Fischer’s dog-trot cabin around 1886. Charlene Fischer, a descendant, recently re-opened the store.

 

Venerable Fischer Hall, along with the nine-pin Bowling Club, date back to the turn of the century, but are still going strong.

Photographs Lewis Smith, © 2003

 

 


 

  FISCHER, TEXAS
By Lewis Smith


However you get there from here (Wimberley) -- heading west across Devil’s Backbone on RR 32 from the “junction” at RR 12, or simply down Fischer Store Rd. from FM 2325, Fischer is wonderfully unpretentious --little changed in the past 100 years -- an admirable quality these days.

Seeds of the community were sown in 1876 with more than 3,000 acres acquired by brothers Herman and Otto Fischer. Herman claimed and stuck with 160 acres, building a small 3-section “dog trot” cabin -- part of it becoming the original Fischer’s store and the hub of “Fischerdale.” Otto, however, thought 3,000 acres would be more suitable for a livestock operation. It makes sense, then, that Herman became known as “Store” Fisher, and Otto known as “Stock” Fisher.

Over the years, Fischer’s store expanded far beyond its mercantile role to also become the community’s post office, “bank” and saloon -- the original 3-section cabin giving way to a larger frame building. At about 1900 it became the frame and tin structure we know today. Never one to miss a business opportunity, “Store” Fischer established a thriving cotton gin across the road at a spot now marked by two cedar trees in the open field.

Progress also brought name changes to Fischerdale, which quickly became Fischer’s Store. However, with the post office came a forced name change to simply Fischer, so the postmark wouldn’t “advertise” the store.

Meanwhile, Otto “Stock” Fischer was building a thriving horse-breeding operation and selling his stock to the Army. In 1886, he deeded 40 acres to help establish a community school (now serving in its second “skin” as a community meeting hall), a bit of land for the town cemetery (a little east of the Fischer Store Road/RR 32 intersection), and a couple of acres for the now famed Fischer Hall.

The hall was built the hard way just before the turn of the century, but it’s lasted. It became a necessity when Fischer townspeople found it too difficult to get along with their neighbors at the dances in nearby Cranes Mill. They organized an Agricultural Society to oversee the effort and brought in Al Kloepper, a one-eyed master carpenter from New Braunfels, who was known for crafting the kind of strong and graceful arches which soar across the hall’s open ceiling.

Adding to the community’s recreational assets was the nine-pin bowling alley, built shortly after the hall and in its ample shadow. The open field directly across the road from the buildings was for many years -- up until the late 30’s -- the village rodeo grounds.

Much of “Store” and “Stock” Fischer’s legacy survives and is very visible. The hall is still a popular special place for dances, weddings and parties, and was featured in Willie Nelson’s film “Honeysuckle Rose.” The bowling alley is a favorite for its local members (and others who are welcome Fridays). But it’s near impossible to find anyone who approves of the new U.S. Post Office which came on the scene a few years ago after residing happily in the store for more than 100 years.

It’s good to know, too, that the store has reopened (afternoons Wed. -Sun.) and is owned and run by Charlene Fischer, a Herman “Store” descendant and that just up the road toward Wimberley Merle Jean Fischer, a descendant of Otto “Stock“, is still working the family ranch.

Story and photographs Lewis Smith, © 2003

 

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