PLACE AN ORDER
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LEON SPRINGS, TEXAS
LEON SPRINGS, TEXAS
On The Edge Of The Texas Hill Country
Latitude 29 39 53 N - Longitude 098 37 44 W Elevation 1129.15 feet
A German immigrant, Max Aue, came to Texas in the 1850's and served three tours of duty with the Texas Rangers. He received a grant for 640 acres in the Leon Springs area in return for his services in the Rangers, and had built this up to 20,000 acres by his death in 1903. In 1852 he settled in the area and married in 1856. He built a general store on the east side of the road running from San Antonio to the Hill Country and lived in the upstairs section of the building. The rear of the building served as a local post office from 1857 to 1861. This building still stands today as the Settlement Inn.
The store was the first stop on the stagecoach line running northwest from San Antonio to San Diego, California, which carried mail and passengers throughout the 53 day trip. In 1879 Aue built the Leon Springs Hotel along side the store to accomodate the passengers along the route. By 1885 the town had a steam cotton gin and a population of about fifty. In 1887 the railroad was built to the east of the settlement and was renamed Aue Station by the railroad. The hotel and original store were occupied by the Aue family until vacated in 1952.
During World War I, the area was used as the First Officer training center, which may have had something to do with the building of five saloons in the community. By 1895 the population had grown to 158.
Leon Springs, Texas, is located northwest of San Antonio on Interstate 10. Originally founded a fair distance from San Antonio on the stagecoach road running north, Leon Springs is now surrounded by the larger city. Not actually an incorporated city, it is the area settled around a community built around the stagecoach track and railroad in the mid to late 1800's.
The Leon Springs area was originally mapped by Spanish explorers and was frequented by traveling bands of Coahuiltacans, Tonkawas and Comanche Indians.
John W. Smith was given a land grant in the Leon Springs area to the south. John was the last messenger to carry a dispatch from the Alamo during the seige in 1836. He later fought at the Battle of San Jacinto where Santa Anna was defeated and the defenders of the Alamo were avenged. He later became the first mayor of San Antonio.
He later sold part of this land to Baron John O. Meusebach, a German nobleman. The baron lived and farmed at Comanche Springs, an area south of Leon Springs and now part of Camp Bullis. Meusebach was a well known resident famous for negotiating a lasting peace treaty with Comanche chiefs Santana, Old Owl and Buffalo Hump. He was responsible for setlements in several areas, founding Fredericksburg, Texas, to the north, in 1846.
Leon Springs Supply Co.
In 1926 a new store was built several hundred yards to the north of the old store. This store still stands and was re-opened and renovated in 1973 as Rudy's Corner, a combination ice house, gas station and barbeque palace, advertising the "worst BBQ in Texas". Just south of this store another building was built which became the B29 Club, a popular dance hall for soldiers during World War II from neighboring Camp Stanley and Camp Bullis.
In 1854 Captain George von Plehve bought land in the Leon Springs area. A former officer in the Prussian Army, von Plehve had just married a young bride, a ward of the King and Queen of Bavaria, and settled down here building a small group of houses which still stand today. The von Plehves allowed stagecoaches to change and water their horses at the compound and they were noted for entertaining extensively. After their deaths, the land was bought by the Altgelt family who were decendants of German settlers that founded the town of Comfort, located about fifteen miles northwest.
In 1908, 18,000 acres of land were sold to the U.S. Government and was designated as the Leon Springs Military Reservation. Originally called Camp Funston, the First Officers training camp was established here at the beginning of World War I, and in 1917 graduated 1,500 officers - more than did West Point. In 1911 the first cross-country airplane flight was made from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to Leon Springs - a 26 mile, hour and forty-five minute round trip. A young Lt. Dwight D. Eisenhower was stationed there in 1917 with the 57th Infantry. Part of the Leon Springs area was used for horseback training for the infantry.
The post office was closed in 1918 and by the mid 1930's the population had fallen to about twenty-five. The area began to grow again during World War II due to the activity of neighboring Camp Stanley and Camp Bullis, and had grown to about 100 by 1946.
Currently, the Camp Stanley area is used for ammunition storage and testing while Camp Bullis is used for firing ranges and maneuver areas for Army, Air Force and Marine combat units and for field training for various medical units from Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.
Today, Leon Springs is a suburb of San Antonio. Several of the buildings constructed from the mid 1800's into the early part of the 1900's are still standing today and utilized as stores and businesses. The springs that flowed in this area and made it a desirable place to live have pretty much dried up and Leon Creek only flows after heavy prolonged rains. Leon Springs is more a collective name for the various communities now found in the area. Because the military camps are off the highway and not noticable by the passing observer, Leon Springs will seem more a community of restaurants than anything else.