A Brief History of Sisterdale
The Second Oldest Town in the Beautiful Texas Hill Country
Sisterdale is located in a quiet valley between the East
and West Sister Creeks, just north of the Guadalupe River.
Founded by Captain Nicholas Zink in 1847, just two short
years after Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels settled the
town of New Braunfels.
Sisterdale was soon populated with a group of German "free
thinkers" who were disillusioned after the failed European
Revolution of 1848. Upon arrival, the settlers soon
chopped down most of the cypress trees that lined both
Sister Creeks for furniture, cabinet making, and home
construction...however, it was farming that consumed most
of their time. These gentleman farmers thought they would
be able to farm part of the day and spend the studying
Latin, literature, poetry and music. Most had never farmed
before moving to Sisterdale and the few that had quickly
realized that the farming conditions varied greatly from
their homeland. So, their idyllic vision of studying the
arts and farming was soon dashed as the realities of
frontier life settled in.
Sisterdale continued to grow and in 1850 Dr. Ernst Kapp
and Dr. Rudolph Wipprecht settled here from Germany. Dr.
Kapp established the Hydropathic Institute in Sisterdale,
which promoted cures with mineral waters. The Comfort
Museum displays a Hermann Lunkwitz lithograph illustrating
the water curing process. Dr. Kapp later moved and became
the first professor of languages at Texas A&M University.
Recently, a University of Chicago professor was
researching his ancestors from the Sisterdale area and
discovered a historical publication indicating that
vineyards were planted in Sisterdale around the 1860's.
Additional research indicated that the small limestone
building adjacent to the winery was probably the site of
the first permanent home in Sisterdale.
The 1885 cotton gin, which currently houses Sister Creek
Vineyards, was in operation until 1927. A boll-weevil
infestation in the mid-20's devasted the farmers and
eventually forced the closing of the cotton gin.
The Sisterdale Valley Historic District has been listed on
the National Register of Historic Places since 1975.