408 W. Main St. Fredericksburg, TX 830.997.9591
M thru F
Everybody's somebody in Luckenbach.
Luckenbach is an unincorporated community thirteen miles from Fredericksburg in southeastern Gillespie County, Texas, part of the Texas Hill Country. It consists of 9.142 acres between South Grape Creek (a tributary of the Pedernales River) and Snail Creek, just south of U.S. Highway 290 on the south side of FM 1376.
Its oldest building is a combination general store and saloon reputedly opened in 1849 by Minna Engel, whose father was an itinerant preacher from Germany. The community, first named Grape Creek, was later named after Minna's husband, Carl Albert Luckenbach, who was then her fiance; they would later move to another town which became Albert, Texas. Luckenbach was first established as a community trading post and was one of the few that never broke a peace treaty with the Comanche Indians, with whom they bartered and traded.
Luckenbach's population increased to a high of 492 in 1904, but by the 1960s, Luckenbach was almost a ghost town. An ad in the paper offering "town - pop. 3 - for sale" led Hondo Crouch, rancher and Texas folklorist, to buy Luckenbach for $30,000 in 1970, in partnership with Kathy Morgan and actor Guich Koock. Hondo used the town's rights as a municipality to govern the dance hall as he saw fit.
Today the town still maintains its small population and strong western roots. Two main buildings are the top sites, one of which houses the post office, saloon, and general store, and the other is the dance hall.
Luckenbach's association with country music began in the summer of 1973, when Jerry Jeff Walker, backed by the Lost Gonzo Band, recorded a live album there called Viva Terlingua at Luckenbach Dancehall. Four years later (and a year after Crouch's death), Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson memorialized Luckenbach with the song "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)," cowritten by rock and soul producer Chips Moman and keyboardist Bobby Emmons. Notable concert appearances in the town include Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, and Lyle Lovett. The little community is still an active home to country music where folks gather by the score to listen to area musicians and drink cold beer.
Luckenbach hosts a wide range of visitors each weekend, including bikers, bankers and everyone in between. On Sundays, it is common for people to bring instruments and those in the crowd entertain each other, taking turns performing under the trees just outside the bar. No hard liquor is allowed, and no law enforcement is necessary.
There are RV camping spots, and a small creek that runs nearby where the signs state "No Swimming Allowed". This is usually ignored and it is common to see parents there with their children. Areas are set up for pitching washers. Occasionally, local and regional celebrities drop by on a Sunday, as this is the most relaxed day to visit. There is no charge to visit.
Luckenbach even has its own local newspaper, the 8-page monthly Luckenbach Moon.
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