The Gruene Historic District contains examples of late nineteenth century Victorian houses, as well as a few examples of mid-nineteenth century German colonial structures with Victorian additions. The town retains the ambience of a late nineteenth century cotton community, for there has been little construction since the 1920's. Located on the well-traveled road from San Antonio to Austin, Gruene served as a stage stop and by 1900 was a station stop for two railroads. Once the center for two to three hundred people, Gruene represents the ambitions of Henry D. Gruene, founder and developer of the town which bears his name.
The first people to settle in the area now known as Gruene, Texas, were German farmers, arriving in Texas in the late 1840's and 1850's with the Adelsverein, the Society for the Protection of German Immigration. In New Braunfels, the first city to be surveyed and settled by the Society, town lots were quickly sold and new settlers moved north into the surrounding countryside where farm land was rich and fertile. About four miles northeast of New Braunfels, immediately east of the Guadalupe River, a community by the nrune of Goodwin emerged.
Among the first New Braunfels settlers arriving with the Adelsverein were Ernst Gruene, Sr. and his wife Antoinette, both of Hanover, Germany.2 After their three children, Ernst, Jr., Henry D., and Joanna were born, the Gruenes moved to Comaltown, and adjoining community between the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers. Ernst Gruene, Sr. continued to acquire additional farm lands near New Braunfels. In 1872 when acreage was no longer available in Comaltown, Ernst Gruene, Sr. bought land on the east side of the Guadalupe River. The deep aliuvial soil was extremely adaptable for the cultivation of grain products and cotton. However, it was Ernst, Sr.'s second son, Henry D., who was to develop a community, later known as Gruene, in this area.
Restoration effort begun in the 1970s revitalized the area, the town was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. (1988)