New Braunfels Woolen Mill Steam Laundry
Among the initial lots surveyed in the establishment of the town of New Braunfels in 1845, Lots 271 and 272 served as the site for diverse and important businesses from the mid-1860s to the 1920s. It began the year that the Civil War ended. Dr. Theodor Koester and Augustus Tolle and other entrepreneurs conducted a number of businesses on the property. While not destined for much success, the initial structure that was built led to a group of entrepreneurs to purchase the properties and begin the "The New Braunfels Woolen Mill Manufacturing Company." It also appears to be one of the first, if not the first, business in New Braunfels to usher in the benefits of the industrial revolution – machinery using steam power instead of water power (i.e., via water mills).
The Woolen Mill achieved fame throughout Texas and much of the U.S. Unfortunately, while successful for a number of years, it eventually failed due to other woolen mills reportedly outside of Texas using its highly reputable but un-trademarked name for their own financial gain. Within a few years after it closed, another individual, Franz Popp, who arrived in New Braunfels as a farmer, ventured into a business that would have been relatively new to Texas and the first in the county of Comal. Utilizing the steam power equipment left from the Woolen Mill, he began the "Comal Steam Laundry."