Sophienburg Hill Marker
Several years after Texas became an independent republic in 1836, it gained the interest of Europeans, in particular noblemen from various German states. Stories from early adventurous German settlers and travelers painted a wonderful picture of great expanses of land, freedom of religion, freedom to pursue a living outside that which would be dictated from birth, and much more.
In the 1840s, a group of German noblemen decided to capitalize on these opportunities by forming an organization, the Adelsverein or Verein with the purpose of purchasing land in Texas and to colonize Germans there. Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels was named the Adelserein’s first Commissioner General and given the responsibility for the German colonization of Texas. While they failed to achieve many of their objectives, the accomplishments of the Adelsverein and Prince Carl resulted in the largest single migration of Germans to the United States. New Braunfels proudly claims to be the only city in Texas founded by a prince.
Just days after the founding of New Braunfels on March 21, 1845, Prince Carl had a log fortress built, naming it the Sophienburg in honor of his fiancée Sophie of Salm-Salm. The structure was constructed on top of a small hill overlooking the newly founded town. The hilltop was called several names including the Vereinsberg, Sophienburg Hill, or simply the Hill Property. The primary portion of this hill is now the Sophienburg Museum and Archives.
Over the past 170 years, the Sophienburg grounds at 401 West Coll Street have kept alive the memory of both those who survived and those who died to start their life anew in the Texas Hill Country. Sophienburg Hill became the site of the first museum, two public libraries, and now serves as the site for the Sophienburg Museum and Archives. Forward thinking citizens, with an appreciation of their shared past, have ensured that the grounds reflect on the history of the German immigration, the town’s founding, and its ongoing growth.