Gruene was originally three miles north of New Braunfels at a crossing on the Guadalupe River in Comal County. In recent decades it has been brought within the city limits of New Braunfels. The community was once a prosperous commercial and supply center for blackland cotton farmers of eastern Comal County. German farmers settled the area in the 1850s, and the town took shape in subsequent years under the name Goodwin Community. In 1872 the Gruene family purchased 6,000 acres north of the Guadalupe River, and in 1878 Henry D. Gruene built a mercantile store to serve the several dozen families sharecropping his family's land. The profitable river-crossing store was also on the stage route between Austin and San Antonio. Gruene provided land for Thorn Hill School and soon added a cotton gin and dance hall to his business concerns. With completion of the International-Great Northern Railroad through Comal County in the 1880s, the community's commercial development accelerated, and it took the name of its leading citizen.
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