Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building

The Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building (1908, 1926) faces southeast at 472 West San Antonio Street, the main commercial street in New Braunfels, just four blocks from the Main Plaza. A number of historic houses and commercial buildings surround the property. The building is divided into two parts: the western part consists of a 2-story brick building dating from 1908 with alterations in 1926; the eastern part includes a 1-story brick building with stucco facade dating from 1926. The south facade of the 2 story building is divided into five bays denoted by strong 1and 2-story pilasters rising to a curvilinear parapet that peaks at the centerpoint of the facade. Single and paired 4/4 wooden windows mark each bay on the second floor; large plate glass windows with divided transoms still indicate each bay on the first floor with the last bay occupied by an overhead garage door. The south facade of the 1-story building is divided into three bays, each with a large plate glass window/doors and divided transom. The building is in good condition with a high degree of integrity. It is now being adapted by the owner for downtown housing.

The Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building faces southeast on West San Antonio Street, the terminus of the main commercial street in New Braunfels. Directly across the street is the Karbach Haus which has just been recognized locally as an historic site. Adjacent to the Karbach Haus is the Wagenfuehr House dating from the 1870s which has recently been given to the New Braunfels Conservation Society and is presently being used as a museum. West of the Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building, is First United Methodist Church which was founded March 7, 1853. To the east side is an open lot currently being used to display used cars. To the rear facing Mill Street is a building circa 1880s that was part of the New Braunfels Academy (one of the first public schools in Texas) and is now the Tax Office for the New Braunfels Independent School District. This building is a designated historic site. Also on adjacent property facing Mill Street are a number of houses circa 1880 that are being renovated to their original appearance. The area is a focal point to the rich heritage of New Braunfels. In addition to the rich cultural heritage of the location, it is in a transition zone between commercial and residential evidenced by the many beautiful old pecan trees in the immediate vicinity.

The Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building is a 2-story commercial brick building typical of many built in South Texas in the early 20th century. The original 5-bay building sported brick pilasters between sets of single and paired 4/4 wooden windows, each under segmental arches. A distinctive curvilinear parapet topped the building highlighted by circular medallion over a long horizontal band of regularly spaced corbelled brick, set slightly above a recessed panel for showing the incised building name. The building as constructed for Nicholas Holz in 1908 was to house the N. Holz & Son Implement Company. The first course of the foundation of the building is 3.5' to 4' of native limestone upon which five courses of brick were laid for approximately another 3 ft. before the four course 1st floor wall begins to appear. The four layer brick wall reaches to about l4 feet before being topped by a three layer brick wall for the 2nd floor. Since a local ordinance required fireproof roofs when built, it has a corrugated metal roof. In the interior two wooden trusses three feet in depth running the entire length of the building are mounted on wooden columns to support the second floor. The second floor is one large room with oak flooring and a large sliding door to the rear which apparently was used for handling bulky storage items. The original brick facade was altered in 1926 to accommodate the new age of automobiles and still remains as altered today. The face of the building was covered in a layer of stucco at this time.

In 1972 a Bavarian facade was added over the stucco by the present owner's family in keeping with a local movement to market downtown New Braunfels as a center of German heritage. A 1-story brick and stucco building was added to the 2-story original building in 1926 on the east creating a uniform linear appearance to the base of the building. This building is approximately 40' x 85' of concrete beam construction with a concrete roof. This area is to be modified for use as a garage area for the apartments and for a breezeway and secured entrance into the 1908 structure. In order to maintain the original authenticity of the building, both frontal areas will continue to house retail businesses or perhaps a display of antique autos. Behind the retail spaces there will be three apartments and parking garage for seven tenants. The second floor will house four apartments and have a common patio area on the roof of the garage for the use of all tenants. Portions of the concrete roof covering the breezeway will be removed to offer lighting and ventilation, but this will not affect any exterior appearance.

The original ground floor main facade brick arches were apparently removed during the 1926 renovation and replaced by showroom windows and a drive-in entrance which will be retained in appearance only. The current project will restore as many as possible of the original windows and use windows of period design for replacement or any new openings. There is no anticipated change in the foundation or exterior walls other than the addition of new windows to meet current building codes.

On the rear of the building there will be new construction of a stairwell and elevator that will becovered in stucco to match existing stucco. The original metal roof needs to be replaced and will be replaced with a corrugated metal similar to the original. No roof line changes are anticipated.

The Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building (1908, 1926) is a 2 story commercial building on the principal commercial thoroughfare of downtown New Braunfels, Comal County. In 1908, Nicholas Holz funded the construction of the building as the site for N. Holz and Son Implement Company. The family business dealt in farm implements and early transportation vehicles such as buggies and wagons. The Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building later served as the business site for a number of significant auto dealerships owned by several families and offering a number of different automobile makes. The property retains a high degree integrity with all major alterations and additions dating to 1926, within the period of significance. The property is eligible under Criterion C in the area of Architecture at the local level of significance as one of the most intact commercial buildings in New Braunfels and is representative of the community's commercial architecture from the early to mid 20th century.

Nicholas Holz, the original owner of the Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building, first acquired the property on which this building is built in 1858. Holz's business began as a blacksmith shop that developed into providing a broader service to the largely German agricultural community around New Braunfels. In 1908, Holz built a new building that became a show piece on West San Antonio Street, the main street of New Braunfels and primary route to San Antonio on the south. Although opened as the N. Holz & Son Implement Company, early signs indicate that they were the dealers for Avery Plows and Studebaker Buggies & Carriages. According to one of the old time residents of New Braunfels, the company also sold Oakland automobiles because she recalls that her father bought an Oakland at this location. Holz also served as an alderman for the city and county commissioner. One of the frequent polling places was his home also on West San Antonio Street. The Holz business functioned as a landmark for many small businesses who referenced a business location as being across the street or next to N. Holz & Son in the local newspaper. Holz also was very active in procuring funds for both the Indianola hurricane relief as well as the Galveston hurricane in 1900. It appears that he was a man of great wit--an 1873 ad offers: "For Sale: 75,000 acres of land on the moon, 50,000 acres of land on the planet Uranus and water power in the Pacific Ocean."

The building apparently remained in the Holz family until 1921 when it was purchased by Louis Forshage. There is little information available on Forshage but it is probable that he had an interest in Sippel Buick Company the next occupant since it was during this period that a major addition was added and the first story facade altered. Historic photographs from the early 1920s indicate that when the building housed the Sippel Buick Company they apparently also handled Chevrolet automobiles. In the mid-1920s Sippel was succeeded by Becker Chevrolet Company. In 1934 Krueger Chevrolet bought Becker Chevrolet when the Becker family moved and took the Dodge/Plymouth franchise changing its name to Becker Motor Company. Becker Motor Company, which was founded in this building, is still in existence today as one of the oldest Chrysler products franchises in the state.

The Krueger family was also a vital part of the automobile business in New Braunfels. The first Krueger dealership was started in 1928 with the Buick franchise . After the family acquired the Chevrolet franchise in 1933, this building continued as a home for Chevrolet products until 1936. The Krueger family remained in the automobile business until 1994 with Chevrolet and Mazda products. The son opened a second Mazda dealership in South Texas in this same building in 1972.

From 1936 to 1944 the building housed a grocery store and then in 1944 it returned to use as an automobile dealership. During this next five years it was home to a succession of Ford dealerships--Swearingen-Armstrong Ford, Swearingen-Lamb Ford, Swearingen-Bock Ford and finally Bock Motor Company who left for new quarters in 1949. There were very no new automobiles available until late 1946, so the existence of the Ford dealerships at that time was primarily as a service and parts operation and offering for sale a few used cars as available. When Bock Motor Company left for new quarters, the building continued its role again in the automobile industry of New Braunfels when Liefeste Nash Company and Leissner Auto Parts took over in 1950. It was the home for Nash automobiles until the manufacturer's demise in the early1950s. Thousands of new and used cars were sold from this building.

One member of the Sippel family who had the Buick franchise was mayor of New Braunfels, while principals of Becker Chevrolet have been elected to the city council and as mayor. Members of the Krueger family have been president of the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, the Jaycees and active in numerous other civic endeavors.

The second floor on the building has had various interesting uses including a dress manufacturer during the 1920s, a roller skating rink for teenagers and apartments during the 1940s. In the 1950s it was used for the Eagles Hall and a karate school among other things. During the 1960s and 1970s the lower floors were used as an auto body shop, a furniture store and also an antique store.

In 1972 a Bavarian facade was put on the front and the interior renovated with new office space and a modernized service department, and it became Krueger Mazda. It remained the dealership for Mazda until 1986 and then was reclaimed by Krueger Chevrolet, Inc., for used car offices and storage until 1992.

The Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building is a free-standing commercial building separated from the primary central business district by two city blocks and approximately four city blocks from the courthouse and city plaza. The brick building originally followed a common 2-part commercial block form with a highly decorative 1-story jig-sawn awning over arched windows and doorways. The form and its decorative features appear similar to contemporary turn-of the-century buildings in New Braunfels, though many were constructed of limestone or wood. Few buildings of the turn of the century remain.

In 1926, alterations and a 1-story addition adapted the building for a new age of marketing and selling of automobiles. As is typical of many small towns, automobile dealers often took existing buildings and modified them for an expanded sales/service operation or new products. After modifications, the Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building resembled many of its 1- and 2-story contemporary buildings in the downtown with large plate glass windows and a stucco facade. As a free-standing building set away from the main commercial core, however, the Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building created a largely independent or self-sufficient commercial zone from the downtown that depended more on the north-south highway traffic on San Antonio Street than commerce in the downtown. The generous proportion of undeveloped space surrounding the Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building made the site ideal for the various transportation-related businesses that occupied the building for over 84 years because these businesses required display space for vehicles. The building was one of the few buildings near the central business district that was versatile enough to serve the motoring public and transportation industry. While much of the local economy shifted toward tourism services in the mid to late 20th century, the Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building remained an automobile dealership until recent years participating only briefly in the trend of a Bavarian theme town. The building today is representative of the commercial architectural development of New Braunfels in the early to mid 20th century.

The Holz-Forshage-Krueger Building is at the edge of the central business district that became somewhat fragmented by the construction of Interstate Highway 35, approximately one mile east, during the latter part of the 20th century. With a renewed interest in revitalizing the center city of New Braunfels, the rehabilitation of the building into housing will be an important catalyst for more revitalization efforts, especially along West San Antonio Street.

The property retains a high degree integrity with all current alterations and additions dating to 1926, within the period of significance. The building is one of the most intact commercial buildings in New Braunfels from the early to mid 20th century and is representative of the city's commercial architecture. The property is eligible under Criterion C in the area of Architecture at the local level of significance. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Greene, Daniel P. "New Braunfels," in The New Handbook of Texas, Volume 4, Texas State Historical Association, Austin, 1996.

Haas, Oscar. History of New Braunfels and Comal County, Texas, 1844-1946. (Austin: Steck), 1968.

Longstreth, Richard. The Buildings of Main Street. National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Preservation Press, Washington, DC, 1987.

The owner conducted research in local archives on the businesses and development of New Braunfels. He also contacted older residents of New Braunfels to collect information on the early businesses operating in the building.


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