In 1849, a Trading Post, was established in Gillespie County, that provided goods to local settlers and indians. In 1879 a steam-powered cotton gin was built on Grape Creak, it operated until 1929. Within 10 years the town also had a blacksmith shop and a consolidated school. In 1886 the Post Office/General Store/Tavern was opened by August Engel, a preacher from Germany. Engel’s daughter chose the name Luckenback in honor of her fiancé’ Albert Luckenbach. Years later they found another small town not far away and called Albert.
Where was the world’s first airplane flown? (you are wrong)…In 1865 Jacob Brodbeck, a Luckenbach teacher and inventor made the flight. Brodbeck was born in Wuerttemberg, Germany. He graduated from the University of Esslingen having studied scientific teachings. Brodbeck invented the first watch that would run without winding. He decided to leave for American after the King of Wuerttemberg offered him one cow for his invention. Jacob flew his airplane over the treetops of Luckenbach but could not rewind the coils quick enough to stay in the air. Fifteen years later the Wright Brothers got their aircraft off the ground, for about the same period of time that Jocob Brodbeck was in flight.
In the late 1800’s the community center and DANCE HALL was built at Luckenbach. Like all settlements of this time the Dance Halls were used as a meeting place to handle business and also a place to enjoy good company, good music and a good beer!
In 1970 – Luckenbach, still owned at the time by decedents of August Engel, was put up for sale when an ad was run in a local paper stating – TOWN FOR SALE – lock, stock and dancehall”. The Luckenbach we know today began when group of “Texas Characters” led by Hondo Crouch bought it. Hondo declared himself Mayor. Hondo, and fellow investors Gulch Koock and Kathy Morgan immediately bagan planning events including, “Hug-ins”, The Luckenbach Worlds Fair, Ladies State Chili Bust, the Dauber Festival, and the now famous daily sessions of song-picking, domino playing and beer drinking all center under the 500 year old oak trees.
In the 70’s Luckenbach became known worldwide – because of Hondo’s promotional savvy and “crazy” personality thousands of people began traveling to the Luckenback to experience the town “where everyone is someone”. Also many Texas musicians became regulars at the town with a population of 3. In 1973, Jerry Jeff Walker and his Lost Gonzo Band took over the dancehall. They stacked bales of hay to serve as sound buffles. They wrote, recorded, and drank beer day and night. The result was Jerry Jeff Walker and his Lost Gonzo Band….VIVA TERLINQUA album. The album went gold and made Luckenback a must destination for everyone that heard it – not to mention a side road trip to Terlinqua, Texas an amazing ghost town in the Big Bend area of West Texas. In 1977, Luckenback, Texas (Back to the Basics) was released by Waylon and Willie – which resulted in folks worldwide visiting where – Out in Luckenbach, Texas Ain’t nobody feeling not pain. Through out the years many of the best know Texas musicians have played at the Luckenbach Dancehall – not just Willie, Waylon, Jerry Jeff Walk and the other Texas Country Outlaw. These include Ray Wylie Hubbard, Bill Joe Shaver, Gary Nunn, Pat Green and many other. Tens of thousands other Texas singer songwriters have shared their song and stories on the outdoor stage while folks rest under the big oaks enjoying a cold beer, soda, and burger.
A VIST TO LUCKENBACH IS A MUST……….even if it is just to experience a place where everybody is somebody