Theater & Art


Cast of “Mein Leopold,” live theater production at Seekatz Opera House, circa 1900.

Hermann Seele helped found the New Braunfelser Theater-Gesellschaft just six short months after the founding of New Braunfels. The proceeds from the theatre company’s first six performances were donated to the school board’s building fund. Thus, the first public school in the state of Texas was funded in part by the theatrical arts.


Seekatz Opera House, circa 1900.

Sophisticated German-language theater and opera flourished in Central Texas after 1850, presented mostly by social clubs in German towns such as New Braunfels.

Visual artists flourished as well. Carl Iwonski, one of the town’s original founders, provides historians with knowledge and visions of the new land and its early residents. His paintings and drawings of the city, along with portraits of community leaders, are among the few images available before the advent photography.


Carl G. von Iwonski watercolor of live theater production “Die Einfalt im Lande” (“The Simplicity in the Land”) at Seekatz Opera House, circa 1860.


Fritz Goldbeck – poet and mayor, circa 1850.


Cover of Goldbeck’s book, circa 1850.

Fritz Goldbeck, another original settler, arrived to New Braunfels when he was 14 years old. Goldbeck became the first German-Texan poet, writing a great number of poems, using simple and unpretentious language to describe the settlers’ lives. He was later a two-term mayor of New Braunfels. Additional poets were Ludwig Vogel, Rev. Gustave Eisenlohr, Hermann Seele, Rev. Louis Ervendberg, and Rev. August Schuchard.