The property at the corner of east Castell and west San Antonio Streets, according to the late Roberta Mueller, was originally owned by Valentine Sippel, her great grandfather. Valentine married Anna Ossman and they had three children: Kaytrina, who was crippled from birth, Henry, who was killed in the Civil War, and finally son John, who lived to be only 50 years old as a result of suicide.
The family is buried in the Comal Cemetery.
John Sippel married into the successful Gruene family by marrying
Johanna Gruene. After six children, the marriage ended in a bitter
divorce, according to family members.
Sippel had built the two story building in 1871 and moved into the second floor. Christian Hohmann and Henry Meier operated a bar and billiard room on the first floor of the building. The 1877 Sanborn map shows that the construction was concrete or cement brick and was labeled as a saloon. There are no photos available prior to 1895 to view what the actual construction materials were. H.R. Schumacker operated a brewery in the basement from 1872 to 1875, selling a keg of beer for $2.25 and a glass for 5 cents, the going rate at the time. The saloon operated under several names before it finally became the Phoenix Saloon in 1895.