Focus on the Backroads » Photo Journeys


During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries German and Czech immigrants built numerous dance halls throughout Texas. These halls served as community centers, providing folks a place to meet with others who shared the same language, customs, and interest. These halls were meeting places where the community conducted business. More importantly the halls were a place to relax and socialize usually including music and dancing. Over the years as communities became more culturally diverse and more mainstream American culture. The traditional German and Czech Polka and folk music suddenly blended with honky tonk and Tejano music resulting into the birth of Texas Swing. Many Texas music legends such as Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Lefty Frizzell, Ernest Tubbs and other began to perform at many of these Halls.

Anhalt Hall was built in 1879, additions were added in 1898 and 1908. Anhalt, Texas was settled by German immigrants in 1855. It was originally known as Krause Settlement and was located halfway between New Braunfels and Boerne. The name was changed to Anhalt in 1879 when the post office was opened. That same year Anhalt Hall was completed and was used as a meeting place for the German Farmer Association. In 1887 the Association began construction of a larger meeting hall connected to the original hall, it was completed in 1989. This area now serves as seating area for the dance hall.
In 1908 a 6,000 square foot dance floor was added and later the bandstand.

One of the first bands to play at the Anhalt Hall was William Specht Spring Branch Band, a six piece brass band, in 1880. Since then many Texas country western singers have climb on the Anhalt stage including George Strait, Johnny Rodriguez, Geronimo Trevino, Chris Wall, Jerry Jeff Walker, and others. The Anhalt Hall has been included in many movies including All the Pretty Horses in 2000, which starred Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz – directed by another Texan Billy Bob Thornton.

I recently had the pleasure of attending an event at The Anhalt Dance Hall benefiting The Texas Dance Hall Preservation Organization. This event featured Asleep at the Wheel and was on heck of a good time! Texas Dance Hall Preservation is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote and preserve historical Texas Dance Halls – in other words to preserve a very important part of Texas History….please visit their website at

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