and Monument Hill State Historic Site - La Grange, Texas
No one should ever underestimate the impact that German immigrants have had on Texas. German settlers were in Texas from the beginning of the Colonial period, but at the end of the Mexican War large numbers of Germans and others immigrated to Texas because of the mild climate and cheap land.
One such German immigrant was Heinrich Kreische. He arrived in Fayette County in 1849 and purchased 172 acres on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River above La Grange. This land included the land where the Dawson/Meir tomb is located. He honored those who gave their life for Texas by maintaining the tomb his whole life.
Mr. Kreische was a master stone mason and over a period time built a three story stone home on the bluff. He was also involved in the construction of many stone structures in Fayette County. I’ve noticed in my travels that German stone masons have been involved in almost every major stone building in Texas in the 19th century, from the Capitol Building in Austin to the Fort in Fort Davis, Texas.
In 1860 Mr. Kreische began building one of the first breweries in Texas. He cleverly built it in a ravine below his house that was feed water from a spring that he used in the production of beer. By the middle of the Civil War the brewery was producing beer in a nine step brewing process with an ingenious gravity feed water system. When a new batch of beer was ready a large banner was raised that said “Frisch Auf” (Freshen Up). This was an invitation to the community to come to the bluff and enjoy a picnic, dancing, games and a stein or two or three of “Kreische’s Bluff Beer”!
In 1882 Heinrich Kreische, German immigrant, master stone mason, and brew master, was killed in a wagon accident.
By 1884 technology had over taken the brewery and it was closed, but you can still observer and enjoy the skill of Kreische family at Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site.