New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 6, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
41 Tuesday, September 6,2011 | herald-zeitung.comOPINION
The dark history of Meriwether's millrace
What I knew about V.MIfam Hunter Meriwether ((Mild be summed up as \\iM American from Virginia wiu) tiad slaves dip, the canal nc'f to I anda Park Drive I liat s changing, thanks to |(>. Alexander who has been doing an extensive vtudy of
Alexander first became iM!rrf>«;trd in Meriwetfier '.vhcn sfie and Laris Pnesmey ei tn t)ought the little tiouse at I ^ 5 Landa tfiat had been part of Meriwether s pro()crty Ifiey restored the iiouse and opened a German import store called Das Spiel ti.ius ((,)lay fiouse)
()ne of my first questions aiKjiit Meriwethef was ‘How di(i fie even know about New Biaiinfels or the Comal S()rings’ f^fe was from an f)ld Virginia family and fiad been in the mill business in'fore (oitiirig to Texas In Virginia in 182^), he pur I based tfie right to build a dam across the Rivanna River In I846. the year he came to tJew' Braunfels, he sold I ")0 acres and his interest in a dam and a toll bridge there He (iefinitely had expenence and money
I he middle of Uie 1800s time period fits the begin nntgs of the Industrial Revo lution fVrhaps tfirough fiis (onnectioris with mill own-<’fs tie iieard of this area and Its spiing'- Regardless. Men wf’tfier [itircfiased a total of 680 acres from Rafael and fvlaria (.larza and also from rfir German Emigration Co 1(1 184/
On tfie 1850 Slave Sched ule Census. Meriwether is listed as fiaving 50 slaves
A 1920s view of the bridge over ttie millrace and millpond
/fh\ ^ f nf'ti
I he slaves dug the canal so tfiat he would have water power to run his sawmill, gristmill, and gin He dammed tfie geyser springs locally called Los Fontanas to create a millrace (canal), Tfie Comal Springs began above the Landa Estates, originally flowed through the lake area and made a turn going through the spring fed pool then under the Elizabeth Street Bridge, going tfirougfi Schlitterbafin, and dumping into the Comal Creek (Riv er) Landa Park Lake was a side product of digging the canal
The canal was dug from the spring fed pool end of the lake and then parallels Landa Park Drive going under the bridge into the mill pond, and out over the falls into the river
Now the question of dig
gmg that canal I he majority of Germans were against slav ery, but Meriwether was an American and used slave labor It's hard to imagine anyone digging tfie canal, but remember that Meriwether had done this before and fie must have had some sort of implement to dig How atiout a buck scraper ', the fore runner of tfie Fresno^' The buck scraper was a crude wooden tool pulled by mules He was. after all, quite an inventor He patented the fence wire Local old timers said that a fresno fike imple ment was used by ttie slaves to dig the canal In 1859, Meriwether sold his holdings in tfie ( omal Springs Tract for $14,000 to Joseph Landa. as you migfit say. "lock, stock, and barrel Harry Landa, Joseph s son. in his book "As 1 l^emem ber ' wrote that Menwetfier was a very old man (65) witfi a very young wife (22) and as he wished to comply with the desire of his wife, she wanted to return to their
home m fennessee and to fier Mint juli()s [hey did leave and fie diecf tfie next year in lennessee Mciiwether and his canaf changed tfte s( ene in New Braunlels. as it opened up the ai'S) tor industry I hose slaves afiout wfiom we fiave so little information, made a signtfii ant contiif)Ution to tfie town Digging a canal of tfie magnitude of the millrace and then opeiatiiig tfie mifls required a large labor forte Ihe landa lamify utilized the canal and mill pond to develo() Landa Industries Otfier iridustiies developed like tfie C^omal Power Plant After (flanging owners and finally being f)ought l)y the City of New l^raunfefs. much of Meiiwether s original [)rop erty iiu luding the canal and millfjond fias f)ecome the beautiful landa Park
Ihe Menwetfier Mill House at rr. landa St , tfie onfy original Meriwether structure standing, continues to be preserved f)y ownei, Joy Alexander
HERÀLO-ZEnTùNS EDITORIAL 3CARC Publisher and Editor Doug Toney
MtntQtng tdilnr Ai lumn Phillip» Cifculftion Oir#ctot Jiff Fowdit
Awt Minijing f ditof Sh»wn Itwii Copy »iWorKst« Thom«*
What would the disposable container ban really do?
By Bob Krueger
o[)6cial to tfie Heraicl-Zeitung
We will soon know if an official count of signatures indicates that at least 5 percent of New BFaunfels registered voters have signed a petition that would require a referendum on the ordh nance that bans tubers from taking disposable containers onto the Comal and Guadalupe rivers inside the city limits.
What does this ordinance do-Let's be cfear: The ordinance does NOT ban either afcohof or drinking water The ordinance reguiates only the containers for food and beverages brought onto the rivers — not the contents inside the containers Tubers may bring beer, whiskey, drinking water, cranberry juice, chocolate shakes, sandwiches, or whatever they like in thermos jugs, canteens, metal sandwich boxes or any other type of permanent container that they wifl take away with them when they finish their float ihe claim or concern that adults or children would nsk dehydration from lack of liquids is totally false.
fhe City Council has simply passed a trash ordinance to protect public property — that is. our rivers. People would not expect to throw beer cans. Coke bottles or Styrofoam containers on tfie floors of a pofice station, city hall, their neighbor's front porch, or on the stone floors of churches where they might worship Vet, some people freely discard their trash in the Guadalupe and Comaf rivers.
Why sfiould anyone seek to block an ordinance designed to keep cans off the stone floors of the two beautiful rivers that were here long before any missions, or, indeed, buildings of any kind?
These rivers will, if respected by present generations, long outlast anything we can build Our rivers, more than any other single feature, have created and defined the special beauty and quality of this community for almost two centunes We must not allow a town once known as the "Beauty Spot of fexas to be transformed into the "Trash Cesspool of lexas
I he City has reported that more than 500.000 gallons of cans fiave afready been removed from the Comaf and Guadafupe rivers tfiis summer: enough to cover an entire football field two feet high with cans.
Fortunately, after years of negfect toward our rivers, this city couTKif has been brave and responsive enough to try to end many years of contamination of our most precious inheritance
The Council deserves our respect and thanks. And the ordinance against disposable containers deserves our support
H !■ is o lifelong tp.sicient of I Jew [iifumtels v\i" < Itos
seivr-.fl t).S (..onqif^'ssmori, 1) S. Senntoi an(i D.S. Aitiixis ;t
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Receive the Herald Zeitung e-newsletter in your e-mail box: herald-zeitung.com. Click 'Herald-Zeitung Mailing List'Why is it so hard to figure out my district?
Re "Neuu Cornai County precinct uiap gof, to Justice f fiere fias been an increased inter est lately in our city's governmierit f fie mayor and city council caused an uproar by passing their latest ordì nance against disposable contain ers taken on tfie river fhere fvas fieen an outpouring of public sup f)ort. along with an influx of voters legistenng to vote Anytime the people get involved witfi tfie government that controls IIS it IS a very good thing 1 couldn t help but wonder how this new precinct map would affect myseff and my friends Being an intelligent person, rny first thought vyas to look at the city's website and make sure whicfi distnct 1 actually f)eloiiged to now I fie only information I could find, at the f)ottom of the City Council page. IS a link to a non interactive map with no street names listed
except a handful of the few major roads The fink f clicked on said, "Not sure which district you are in^''
1 challenge anyone to find, with complete certainty, their home and district with tfie map provided I live in a very distinct area of town, and yet I am still uncertain Is there a reason that the map could not be interactive to provide accurate information^
Our City IS not doing its job prop erly informing the general populous and providing adequate information to the voters If they really want peo pie to vote and be informed citi zens. why is it so difficult to find information tfiat should be readily available - especially since they afready provide a link^
Most people do not carry around their voter registration cards with them. So how can anyone find out with any certainty by using the city's own information, flow this proposed change will affect tfiem’
Laurie Creasy New Braunfels
LKTI'KIIS TOTTIK KDI IOli'Can Ban'opponents should direct anger where it belongs
fhis Labor Day weekend and I was just hoping that all of out (iti zens who are against tfie "('.an Ban" are floating.
And I hope that, wfien tfiey look over and see someone next to them sinking cans in our natural, fresfi water, tfiey wifl direct tfieir anger where it belongs
Get tfiose responsifile for tfie ban to stop trasfiing tfie rivet, tfien ( ity Council won't have to react
Linda Gabbard New BraunfelsThank you to all those who help soup kitchen
“Cooking with Cus', tfie lead article in the Sunday. Sept. 4. Living section of the Herald-Zeitung,
IS a well deserved and wonderful tribute to ('.hef Cus and a nice reminder to our community of New Braunfels' only soup kitchen, operating each weekday for the ()ast seven years as Project Hungry, a program of f he Institute for Pub li( Health and Education Research (llPHtR)
On behalf of the flPHER Board,
I would like to add additional thanks to the many volunteers, about five each day from our corn miinity, primanly from several local (fiurches and also thank and acknowledge the faithful contribution of food from these focal firms: Coopers. Schobels, HEB. Marriott Courtyard, NB Smokehouse and StarfDucks.
Doy Cole TIPHER Board ChairmanDisabled vehicles should be added to ordinance
Re: Navigating the System
How rnany vehicles may one have on their property in the city limits^
Ordinance, Section 82-6, Abandoned, Wrecked 6 Junked Vehicles, I suggest should be updated to include Disabled Vehicles.
When I was an Aldernian in the City of Highland Haven, on Lake LBJ, we passed an ordì nance, that if the inspection sticker or Vehicle Registration was not up to date, after a warning letter, the city could pick them up.
This ordinance also included no parking in yards hard surface, concrete, etc. only. If you know anyone that knows wfiere Highland Haven is on Lake LBJ, they will venfy this.
I hope someone pays atten^ tion to these comments.
And. by the way. it sure kept our property values up.
C.R. Mesenhahn New Braunfels