Waelder is on State Highway 90, two miles north of Interstate Highway 10, eighteen miles north of Gonzales in northern Gonzales County. It was named for Jacob Waelder, a prominent San Antonio attorney. The town was surveyed into town lots in 1874 by agents of Thomas Wentworth Peirce, president of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway, as one of a chain of depots between Houston and San Antonio. Many of Waelder's first residents, businesses, doctors, churches, and schools relocated from Hopkinsville, five miles to the north. The Hopkinsville Masonic Lodge moved to Waelder in May 1878. By the early 1880s Waelder had saloons, a livery stable, a restaurant, a photograph gallery, two steam mills, a brickyard, and schools. Robert Johnson, a blacksmith, was the first Black businessman in Waelder. Henrietta "Hettie" Manlove Cunningham was one of the first teachers and the first woman pharmacist licensed by the Texas Pharmaceutical Association in 1888. The Belle Eden School for Black children was in operation in June 1879 under the direction of Reverend O. E. Perpener. On June 26, 1886, the Colored Masonic Lodge of Waelder was organized; Anderson Price, a well-known African-American landowner in Gonzales County, had donated the land for the lodge. Waelder was first incorporated in 1887; E. W. Walker was the first mayor. "Squire" Walker also served as justice of the peace of Precinct Three for fifty-four years, holding court first in Hopkinsville and later in Waelder from 1866 through 1922. The corporation of the town was abolished on May 7, 1894, and was reestablished on March 25, 1913, with a mayor and five aldermen, as it remains today.

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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Waelder by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
1,148 2019 Texas Demographic Center
1,065 2010 Texas Demographic Center
947 2000 Texas Demographic Center
745 1990 Texas Demographic Center