Hin’ nach Texas! Off to Texas
In the 1840s, Germany was overpopulated and suffering from long-term drought. Starvation was rampant. Industrialization meant that skilled craftsmen lost work and suffered economic distress. Beginning in 1844, an estimated 10,000 German immigrants came to Texas. Lured by the promise of vast lands, abundant resources, and personal liberties, Germans enthusiastically came and adopted their new home. Farmers, businessmen, minor nobility, and skilled tradesmen made the voyage. Talented cabinetmakers, trained through the European guild system, were losing markets to German industrialization but saw opportunity for their craft on the Texas frontier. Combining skill and craftsmanship with the natural resources available in their new home, they developed a style of furniture, known as Texas Biedermeier, and influenced Texas decorative arts. The Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture exhibits one of the largest collections of this Biedermeier furniture style created by these early pioneer artisans.
The museum grounds, located along the historic El Camino Real de los Tejas, (The Royal Road of Texas) are home to native plants, beautiful Texas wildflowers, and ancient live oak trees. The prickly pear cactus* that lines the drive is a variety identified and catalogued by and named for early New Braunfelser Ferdinand Lindheimer, the father of Texas botany.
*Opuntia Engelmannii var Lindheimeri.