City of Schulenburg, Fayette County, Texas

City of Schulenburg, Fayette County, Texas

Texas Polka Dot Music Museum in the City of Schulenburg, Fayette County, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

Schulenburg is at the intersection of Interstate 10, U.S. Highway 77, and Farm Road 1579, on the Southern Pacific Railroad, eighteen miles south of La Grange in southern Fayette County. The area was settled by German, Austrian, and Czech settlers in the mid-nineteenth century. Schulenburg was founded in 1873, when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built through the site, and was named for Louis Schulenburg, who donated land for the railroad. The community was granted a post office in 1874 and incorporated in 1875. Another land donor was John Christian Baumgarten Sr., one of the "Forty-eighters" from Germany, who built a cottonseed-crushing plant in the community. He also operated a lumberyard, a planing mill, a sash and door factory, and a cotton gin, and in 1883 he opened the Schulenburg Oil Mill, which manufactured Baumgarten Process Allison Flour from cottonseed. In 1884 the community had 1,000 inhabitants, two churches, a bank, schools, thirteen general stores, and four saloons. Among the early newspapers in the community were the Schulenburg Enterprise, the Messenger, the Sticker, and the Texas Volksfreund. Schulenburg had electric lights by 1896, and in 1900 the community had 1,149 inhabitants. By 1914 it had Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist churches and the G. E. Ruhman plant, which manufactured steel furnaces and wire goods. The population of the town slowly climbed to 1,246 in 1920, 1,640 in 1930, and 1,970 in 1940. In 1945 Schulenburg had 112 businesses, including two manufacturing companies, three cotton gins, a machine shop, and the Stanzel Company—a model airplane factory. The population of the town continued its slow rise in the postwar period, reaching 2,207 in 1960, 2,347 in 1980, and 2,455 in 1990. The population was 2,699 in 2000 and 2,945 in 2015. Schulenburg has a rich musical heritage, especially polka music, and has had several orchestras, the Gold Chain Bohemian Band, and the Texas Polka Music Museum. The town is also noted for the painted churches in the region and is home to the Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum. See also COTTONSEED INDUSTRY.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Schulenburg by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
2,633 2020 United States Census Bureau
2,935 2019 Texas Demographic Center
2,852 2010 United States Census Bureau
2,699 2000 United States Census Bureau
2,455 1990 United States Census Bureau