February, 2012. Boerne, Texas. No Hatin’ on Walmart Here.

Posted on February 8, 2012

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Or at least not as much as some places.

Downtown Boerne

Walmart IS the store we love to hate – but we also hate not having one nearby.

Blamed, in large part, for the disappearance of mom and pop stores on the mains streets of America, there’s no doubt the big box has contributed to a homogenization of American life while creating other problems as well.

Boerne, Texas, however, has a specific reason to shower a little Lone Star lovin’ on the giant retailer.

Here’s the story.

John Small was given a land grant in 1841 by the President of the Republic of Texas for 1280 acres in the area where the City of Boerne is today.  He built a two-room rock house with a tower attached – the tower was a defense against Indians. It passed on to the Kingsbury family sometime after 1850, and then to the Shumard family in 1906.

Mr. Shumand built a new, much larger rock house in 1907, which included bunk space in the attic for his ranch hands.  Additions to the house were added in the 1920’s, including an enclosed walkway between the main house and the kitchen building.

Fast forward to 1999, when a portion of the property was sold to a development company, who in turn, sold 35 acres – on which the ranch house and the original small stone house and tower stood – to Walmart.

Because the property had never been listed with the Texas Historical Commission, the city feared the buildings would eventually be torn down.

However, when Wal-Mart was asked to help them save these historic structures, the giant retailer agreed to donate the land on which the buildings stood, with the stipulation that it be used for a public purpose.

The buildings themselves were owned by a member of the development company.  He followed Walmart’s lead by donating the newer ranch house and agreeing to sell the small house and tower to the city for a less-than-commercial price.

Now the historic buildings, constructed of cut limestone with plaster interior walls, serve as a visitor’s information center and mini-museum for the City of Boerne.

Back view of house showing original cistern

What’s not to love about that?

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Posted in: Travel - Texas