THE HISTORY OF KINDER RANCH
The development of Kinder Ranch has been a collaboration between Denton Communities and the heirs of Gilbert Kinder.
The Kinder Ranch area near Bulverde has always been a good place for people to settle and make their homes and lives.
Nomadic bands of prehistoric hunters and gatherers lived off of the bounty of the land’s plants and animals, from 8 to 12,000 years ago. There were also Native American tribes wandering through in late pre-historic and historic periods who camped along the Cibolo Creek and hunted in the surrounding hills.
Europeans immigrated to the area when Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels from Prussia bought a large tract of land as part of a land investment opportunity and founded the settlement of New Braunfels in 1845. Prince Solms encouraged Germans to move to Texas and buy parcels of this land. They arrived on the coast through the town of Indianola, then made their way to New Braunfels and up into the Texas Hill Country where they established new roots.
One such immigrant was 21-year-old August Anton Pieper of Hanover, Germany, who arrived in Texas in late 1845 and eventually settled along the Cibolo Creek, where he constructed a barn of rock and oak, and later built a two-story stone house. He married Johanna Kabelmacher in 1851 and they were the first couple to live in the area, which was called Pieper’s Settlement before it was named Bulverde. Their house and barn are still standing.
Bulverde Drive was a main stage and wagon trail for travelers heading north from San Antonio.
Others moved into the area, including Johanna’s relatives. Bulverde Drive was a main stage and wagon trail for travelers heading north from San Antonio. Many people who were traveling between New Braunfels and Fredericksburg stopped at the Piepers’ for a hot meal and advice on life in this new territory. Using roots and herbs, Johanna made medicines, salves and ointments to treat neighbors as well as Native Americans. She earned the respect and trust of the community, setting a good example for the new settlers.
The German immigrants placed a high priority on education.
Children in the area went to the Adolph Schlameus School, also known as the Bulverde School. The school merged in 1945 with several other one-room country schools in Comal County and became Bulverde High School.
Reverend John Wiley Fox was just four years old when his parents bought a rock house with a red metal roof on a 268-acre ranch in Bulverde in 1949. The Fox Ranch was originally part of a Spanish land grant called the Herrera Ranch Land Grant. Kinder Ranch Elementary School, which opened in 2011, was built on land that was part of the Fox Ranch.
John Fox attended the Bulverde School, called Bulverde High School by that time, which had 10 grades in 3 classrooms. John was the only child in his first grade class who spoke English, as the majority of other students spoke German and a few spoke Spanish.In the fall of 1959, Canyon High School opened in New Braunfels with 320 students in attendance. Just consider, that was the total number of high school age students living in the rural areas of Comal County and large portions of four surrounding counties, including Bexar.
John Fox was a member of the freshman class that year, and said the students were responsible for naming the school, choosing the mascot and selecting the school colors. The school’s name came from nearby Canyon Lake, which was being created. He recalls that one mandate was that every year the school closed for the first day of hunting season, which was a paid holiday for faculty and staff. In 1973, Canyon High School was moved to its present site on IH-35 and the original high school became Canyon Middle School for grades 6-8. There are now three schools conveniently located within the community. The Kinder Ranch Elementary school (currently on site), a new middle school - Comal Middle School - will break ground this fall, with a new high school following.
The Fox Ranch was adjacent to the Haufler Ranch,
originally known as the Obst Ranch.
Gilbert Kinder, a prominent San Antonio home builder who was the son of German immigrants, bought part of the Arthur Haufler ranch in the 1960s. Several years later he bought the entire Haufler/Obst land, and in the 1980s he purchased 200 acres of what had been the Fox Ranch. The initial development of the larger Planned Community of Kinder Ranch is built on what was the Fox Ranch. Reverend John Fox has discovered the magnificent new homes built near the beautiful Live Oak tree that had been his father’s deer hunting blind.