Walzem Chapel  

   

The Walzem Chapel is located in the Mission Valley Settlement Community, an area five miles north of New Braunfels in Comal County. Most of this area is now within the city limits of New Braunfels and the chapel is in the Mission Hills Ranch Subdivision.  The highest point of the Mission Valley Settlement area was called Mission Hill. This area was one of the few areas already named when the German emigrants settled the area.The name resulted because the Spanish had established a Mission, Nuestra Senora De Guadalupe in 1758, in the area.The Mission Valley Settlement was formed around the time that New Braunfels was established in 1845 and the boundaries resulted largely as school boundaries for the Mission Valley School.It was at this location that Johann Joseph and Anna Gertrude Walzem settled after arriving from Germany in the 1850s and where Johann Joseph and his sons built the Walzem Chapel.

Johann Joseph Walzem and his sons are credited with building the Walzem Chapel (also named St. John Chapel) located on an acre lot in the north end of their original 160 acre tract. Legend has it that Mr. Walzem built the chapel in thanksgiving for a safe trip from his homeland in Germany to Texas.A stone at the top of the entrance to the chapel is marked 1870 indicating it was completed that year. Johann later gave the land and chapel to the Right Reverend Bishop C. M. Dubois of the Catholic Church in June of 1871.The property was then purchased in 1989 by Doris Hankamerfrom the church and later by the developer of Mission Hills Ranch Subdivision whose homeowners now care for the property and the chapel.

Many of the German emigrants were of the Catholic faith and their faith sustained them through hardships. The Walzems were indeed thankful to their God for the good life they received in Texas and built the chapel as a testament.

The stone walls of the chapel are all that remain today. While they are in rather good condition, the roof and windows are completely gone while the floor is buried in years of debris. In its day the chapel stood about 25 feet long and 20 feet wide. The chapel walls are over a foot thick, encasing an area that is over 23 feet long and 17 feet wide. The Walzem Chapel was not a large area to hold services in. The walls were made of limestone locally quarried and cut by Joseph and his sons with sand and mortar from a local kiln. (See Attachment D) The craftsmanship displays the ability of the settlers to use available resources to make a living and survive in what was then a wilderness. A stone marked with the inscription "IIWGA" and the year 1870 remains to indicate the mason and the year the chapel was completed. The "II" is the old way of writing "J" in reference to Johann Joseph Walzem and the "GA" refers to Gertruda Anna.  Continue Reading

 Walzem Chapel Narrative

Marker Recognition (Proclamation) in Commissioners Court

 

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