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Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm

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1869 log cabin; 1880s additions; c. 1890 second Sauer House; 1915 Beckmann House and Barn
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )

This farm complex, administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, interprets rural life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Hill Country. The presentation includes livestock and farm animals, regional agricultural crops, and interpreters in period clothing. Immigrating to the area from Nassau, Germany, with his family in 1845, Johann Friedrich Sauer settled first in New Braunfels, then moved to Fredericksburg in 1847, becoming one of the first settlers of the new town. In 1869 Sauer, his wife, Christine, and their four children relocated to this farmland and erected a small one-room log cabin with diamond notching as their first house. In the 1880s, the house was expanded by the addition of two limestone-walled rooms, one of which became a Stube, or parlor, heated by a stove, to the west end of the house. Across the rear of the structure, they added a kitchen with a small fireplace served by a surprisingly large chimney stack. The Stube and the log cabin were accessible to each other via the front porch, with no door connecting them internally, but the kitchen is accessed from the log portion by an interior door.

As the family grew, the Sauers constructed a second stone house with a loft to the east of the first residence. In 1900 Hermann Beckmann bought the Sauer property for his sons, Otto and Emil. Otto lived in the first house and Emil in the second. In 1915 Emil purchased his brother's interest in the farm, building a new barn, a frame room addition to the second Sauer house, and the large two-story L-plan frame house clad in pressed-metal siding in imitation of stone. The second Sauer house was attached to the new Beckmann farmhouse by an open-ended covered breezeway. The plan of the Beckmann farmhouse is organized around a wide central hall with two bedrooms to the left of the hallway and the parlor to the right. Of note on the interior are the unusual flues for the stoves that provided heat: a small masonry flue supported on the interior by a wooden bracketed shelf is connected to the metal stove flue, venting the smoke out of the house.

The barn is organized around a pass-through plan with a small number of stalls placed to either side of the passage across the front of the structure; the rest of the building was reserved for storage, including a large high loft for hay and grain. A farmer could bring a wagon into the barn via the pass-through, filling it with feed from the upper loft or from the storage space below. Other buildings on the property replicate a cistern, chicken coops, and storage buildings, but the limestone smokehouse appears to be an original feature.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm", [Stonewall, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 216-216.

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