Westphalia Rural Historic District

Roughly bounded by County Road 383, Pond Cr.,

County Roads 377, 368, 372, 373, and the Falls Co. western boundary line

Westphalia, Falls County, Texas

Significant Year: 1879

Period: 1875 – 1899, 1925 – 1949, 1900 – 1924


Historic Function: Commerce / Trade; Education, Religion; Agriculture / Subsistence; Domestic

Historic Subfunction: Specialty Store; School; Church School; Agricultural Fields; Single Dwelling  

Westphalia Rural Historic District

The Westphalia Rural Historic District encompasses nearly 5500 acres of upland prairie in western Falls County in Central Texas. State Highway 320 runs diagonally through the area, linking it with Marlin, the Falls County seat 20 miles to the northeast, and with Temple, the Bell County seat 10 miles to the southwest. The district lies at the heart of an extended rural agricultural community defined by strong German Catholic cultural traditions. The religious institutions, schools and commercial enterprises in the village of Westphalia serve as the focal point for this community, offering services to the area's farming families. Beyond the physical boundaries of the village, the historic district also incorporates 35 historic farmsteads with strong cultural ties to the church. These farmsteads contain late 19th and early 20th century agricultural and residential buildings surrounded by virtually intact cultural landscapes. Despite the evolutionary nature of such agricultural environments, farmsteads in the district retain a significant level of their historic integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association. As a result, these resources continue to convey a strong sense of the region's agrarian past.


The Brazos River flows through Central Texas to the Gulf of Mexico, dividing Falls County almost equally into eastern and western halves. A valley of rich, reddish-brown alluvium flanks the Brazos extending approximately one mile east and west. The valley land gradually rises to an upland of black, waxy soiled prairie and gray, sandy soiled timberland. A number of streams and creeks drain the upland, distributing fresh water across most of the county. Forests containing several types of oak, ash, elm, pecan, hackberry, cedar, cottonwood, and mesquite spread along the waterways and highlight the ever-changing levels of undulating prairie.

The Westphalia community lies in the western half of Falls County. Its extended boundaries once covered from 25 to 30 square miles, with Big Pond Creek forming northern and eastern boundaries and Milam and Bell Counties establishing southern and western boundaries respectively (Temple Weekly Times, 16 June 1888). Today, the extended community lies between Pond Creek on the north and east, county roads (CR) 368, 372, and 374 on the south, and the Bell County line on the west. This area corresponds to the boundaries of the Westphalia Independent School District (WISD). Over one hundred individual properties and groupings of properties scattered over 11,000 acres of the accompanying landscape, comprise the built cultural environment. Westphalia's historic road pattern follows the gridlike boundaries of its original individual farms. Constructed on a diagonal through the area in 1938, State Highway (SH) 320 provides the only interruption to this historic grid pattern of development in the rural historic landscape.

The historic district encompasses the all or part of the rectangular land parcels from nine of the original land patents in Falls County. The largest of these, the Martin Byerly patent, contains the 271-acre tract acquired in 1881 by Westphalia's founder Theodore Rabroker. All of the William Lawrence and J.H. Hale patents also lie within the district boundaries, as do the northern parts of the Esther Clark and Hugh Owens patents, the eastern parts of the M. Hunt surveys, the southern part of the David Barlow survey and a small part of the western section of the J.H. Harvey survey. The strong grid pattern imposed on the land by the initial German Catholic settlers remains visible, marked by the fences, county roads, and vegetation that divide the land into roughly 270-acre tracts. This organized spatial pattern survives despite division of some large parcels into 50- to 80-acre tracts beginning in the 1910s. As second and third generation Westphalians continued the patterns established by their forefathers, the landscape today continues to reflect its late 19th century appearance.

Although dominated by its organized spatial pattern, the individual land units within the historic district appear as one because of common land uses. Widespread corn, cotton and livestock production create a fairly consistent visual presence among the various parcels. Seasonal agricultural practices unify the landscape throughout the year. Plowed rows of black land in the early spring that turn to rows of cotton by late summer and fall, combine to form almost uniform fields. Hay meadows and pastures of grazing livestock appear randomly across the fields usually occupying land unsuitable for tilling. These landscape elements result in sweeping vistas that are broken only by an occasional elevated farmstead highlighted with native vegetation. Few large tracts of timber exist except where they occur naturally along creek beds. Narrow graveled and packed earth roads, fence rows sometimes dotted with vegetation, livestock water tanks, and the village of Westphalia further break the landscape vistas. The most striking features, however, are the twin steeples of the Catholic church, visible from almost all points within the district. These serve as visual reminders of the religious focus of Westphalia. Collectively, the land, agricultural uses, farmsteads, fence rows, rural roadways, and village center form a distinctive rural historic landscape. More detailed descriptions of its principal components follow.


Never formally platted or designated, the village of Westphalia lies toward the northern end of the historic district. The staggered intersection of three historic village roads (the Main Village Road, the Church Road and the Gin Road) with SH 320 segregates four functional areas of the village. A complex of religious and educational properties lies at the northernmost sector of the village, accessed by the Church Road from SH 320. Several historic commercial buildings and a modern meat market comprise a small commercial district near the intersection of the major roads. Historic orientation to the Main Village Road shifted to SH 320 following its construction in 1938. A single cotton gin, comprising the district's only surviving historic industrial complex, occupies a site east of the commercial area and adjacent to several large cotton fields. It is accessed from the Main Village Road by a dirt road known locally as "the Gin Road." Residential dwellings comprise the fourth functional area. Historically, only a single dwelling faced the church on the southwest side of the Church Road until the 1930s. Residents commonly built village dwellings along the Main Village Road near the commercial complex. Subsequent residential construction filled in the lots between historic dwellings in both areas. In addition, a small subdivision of single-family houses platted on church property in 1961 occupies historically vacant tracts north and east of the church complex. The subdivision contains a few historic houses that predate the plat, primarily bungalows of the late 1930s. Single-family dwellings and commercial buildings historically clustered at the crossroads closest to the church complex. Today the church complex, historic buildings, and more recent church- related subdivision together comprise the village of Westphalia.

The 1894 Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin (Site No. 91) dominates the entire village complex with its pair of towering steeples. A modern brick rectory (c.1970) stands to the east of the church facing southwest. Just to the west of the church and rectory, the community's educational facilities include a 3-room, 1-story school building known as the 1896 Westphalia Little School (Site No. 88) and a 1921 2-story school and convent known variously as St. Mary's High School or the Sisterhouse (Site No. 89). Both schools are of frame construction. A small playground and a grotto built in 1945 (Site 91C), stand between these buildings and the church.

Completing the religious enclave, St. Mary's Cemetery (Site No.79;) lies across the Church Road in the northwest corner of the original 100-acre church property. The fenced cemetery encloses a carefully maintained gravel surface with grass around the perimeter. Rows of headstones customarily face east, toward the church, and appear as parallel lines with various individual and family plots of almost uniform dimensions outlined in concrete curbing. Many of the older headstones are topped with square German crosses, reflecting the three similar crosses atop the church steeples. Viewed from the southwest, the cemetery/church grouping presents a striking image. The western portion of the cemetery contains the older tombstones and early wrought iron fencing while the more recent graves extend along the eastern half. A chain link fence punctuated by an arched metal entry encloses the section of later graves. A 1908 bronze statue depicting the crucifixion of Christ rises approximately fifteen feet above the tombstones in the cemetery's center. Graves of former priests, each denoted by a large concrete slab inscribed with their name and photo, lie in procession between the monument and the entry gate.

Facing south immediately to the east of the church, two modern buildings clad in metal siding serve as WISD offices and as a parish hall. Both buildings replace early 20th century frame buildings. All of Westphalia's historic educational and religious buildings utilized frame construction and wood siding. Brick is the dominant material for new church and school buildings, followed by metal.

The village's principal unpaved roads meet in two perpendicular intersections at the center of the village. The diagonal crossing of the Church Road and the Main Village Road by SH 320 creates a irregular configuration encompassing several frame commercial buildings. The westernmost building contains the Thornton Store (Site No. 47), a c.1907 dry goods and grocery store. The Westphalia Drug Store (Site No. 55) occupied a 1914 commercial building currently known as the Hering Store. A single gasoline pump sits under the store awning. The final commercial building housed the Greener Garage (Site No. 54), built in 1931 but now vacant. At its peak population, before SH 320 facilitated greater access to towns like Lott and Temple, about a dozen commercial enterprises flourished in Westphalia. New commercial buildings substitute pre- fabricated metal buildings with brick or masonite veneers for the traditional frame construction methods.

In the third functional area, Westphalia's only surviving cotton gin complex (Site No. 86) occupies the extreme eastern edge of the village. A large 2-1/2-story L- shaped metal building with several attached 1-story gable and shed roofed additions comprises the bulk of a complex that faces north and east. Westphalia boasted three gins in the 1920s. Today, however, the only other major industrial complex is a grain and fertilizer storage facility (Site No. N16) at the southwestern limit of the Main Village Road. Occupying the site of a historic cotton gin, the new complex utilizes metal siding and roofing materials. However, the modern units consist of pre-fabricated self-contained buildings, while the historic gin is a rambling frame construction covered with metal sheeting of various shapes and sizes. Both industrial complexes are segregated from any concentration of dwellings.

Over 30 single-family dwellings scattered along the village roadways make up the fourth functional area. These dwellings historically fronted onto the Main Village Road or the south side of the Church Road. The earliest village dwellings date to about 1890, although Westphalia's domestic buildings represent a continuum of major design trends and plan types throughout the historic period. These dwellings include 1- to 1-1/2-story frame dwellings built in the L- Plan, T-Plan, center-passage, and bungalow plan forms. Westphalians historically built frame dwellings, although many have been altered by the application of synthetic siding. Although village residential lots typically contain fewer secondary buildings than do farmsteads, agricultural outbuildings such as barns, tool sheds, and chicken houses are not uncommon. After the imposition of SH 320 across the principal roadways in 1938, new village dwellings arose along the completed highway. Westphalians also moved some historic bungalows to new sites along the highway. Still others reoriented their houses to face the new highway.

Probably the earliest surviving building in the village is a small c.1890 center-passage dwelling (Site No. 84) that faces the Church of the Visitation. This 1-1/2-story, 3- bay, sidegabled house carries a metal roof that extends over an inset porch. Three gabled dormers with single 1/1 windows grace the roof's eastern slope. A second type of historic village dwelling, the standard plan bungalow form of the 1917 Frank Gausemeier House (Site No. 58) lies near the commercial district. Its typifies second-generation farm houses throughout the community. Set back several hundred feet from the road, this large 1-1/2-story pyramidal roof bungalow features a principal facade arranged in an A-B-B-A configuration that faces northwest. A hipped dormer with paired windows extends from the western roof slope. The 1921 Dr. B.A. and Katie Jansing House (Site No. 57), represents Westphalia's later Craftsman-influenced bungalows. Sited near the commercial center of Westphalia, the 1-story frame bungalow faces northwest along the Main Village Road. Capped by a dominant gable-front roof, this bungalow incorporates an inset gable-front on the west and a hipped roof open porch on the north. Diagonal wooden slates decorate both gables. Although bungalows enjoyed great popularity in Westphalia from about 1910 through the historic period, as they did throughout America, the Jansing House is one of the few in the historic district that employs modest Craftsman detailing.

Nearly all houses built in the area since 1945 employ brick or synthetic siding houses. Examples are scattered among the bungalows and other historic properties along the south side of the Main Village Road, across from the church, and in a new subdivision to the the north and east of the church complex. These later houses typically exhibit the design inflences of the Ranch style.


The remainder of the historic district's built cultural environment consists of 54 historic properties, with 40 of these containing historic agricultural resources. The two principal components of such farmsteads consist of a building complex including the primary dwelling and the principal outbuildings and a cultural landscape including cultivated fields, grazing pastures, meadows, stock ponds, timber tracts, fallow land and other shaped features of the rural environment.

First and second generation farms of between 80 and 200 acres comprise the majority of Westphalia's historic farmsteads. Typically, about 80 percent of this acreage was reserved for large expanses of flat land capable of extensive cultivation. Farmers devoted between 60 and 70 percent of this acreage to cash crops such as cotton, with the plantings of milo or grain sorghum, field corn and hay in the remaining fields. Westphalians traditionally kept a substantial percentage, roughly 20 to 30 percent of their farmland, for grazing cattle. They also planted large vegetable gardens and orchards near the building complex. In addition, historic farms contained timber plots along a creek bed, as well as stock ponds. Building complexes on these farms contained the primary dwelling, tenant houses or shelters for hired hands, animal and vehicle barns and sheds. All buildings related to an individual farmstead clustered on a few acres of elevated land near the primary dwelling.

Historic farmsteads tend to contain complexes of late- 19th and early-20th century buildings and structures. A typical complex consisted of a 1- or 1-1/2- story wood frame dwelling flanked by up to 20 agricultural buildings or structures frequently grouped to the rear of the farmhouse. Occupying elevated land as a rule, building complexes were oriented to take advantage of unobstructed views of the surrounding countryside. Narrow graveled or packed earth driveways led from county roadways to the main entry of the house, which typically featured its most stylish details. A few farmsteads contained tenant houses or other, sometimes temporary, accommodations for hands hired during peak periods of agricultural activity such as the harvest season. All contained outbuildings associated with agriculture. The number and type of outbuildings varies, depending on the crops, livestock and scope of a particular farm.

While all of Westphalia's farmsteads historically possessed individual access to county roadways, many maintained a substantial setback from the county transportation newtwork. Positioning the building complexes midway between the fields facilitated access to all parts of the farm for efficient cultivation and harvesting. In addition, elevated sites for afforded farmers good drainage and uniterrupted views of their agricultural operations.

Recent farmsteads carry some of the same site characteristics, although they typically contain larger and fewer outbuildings. Most lie close to the main roadways as modern equipment eliminates the need for proximity to the fields. Orchards, fencerows and other historic vegetation patterns are also limited on these properties, as all farmland is leveled and plowed for cultivation. This pattern has also transformed a few historic farmsteads in the district. While such properties no longer feature any discernable historic agricultural resources, they remain in the hands of Westphalian descendants who maintain both visual and cultural ties within the German Catholic community.


Building complex configurations evolved over time as historic functions became obsolete and farmers adapted their buildings and spatial arrangements for new uses. Nevertheless, some patterns remain consistent throughout the district. In nearly all cases, the driveway connecting the building complex with the main transportation route also separates buildings by function within the complex. Buildings associated with human use typically occupy space on one side of the road while those used to house animals lie on the opposite side. This remains true at modern farmsteads as well. Animal and tractor barns usually lie at a discreet distance from the primary dwelling and auto garage. Within the historic building complexes, a decorative fence often encloses the house and its surrounding yard of about 90' x 100'. Buildings closely associated with domestic use, such as hot water houses, smoke houses, root cellars, privies, cisterns and wells, lie within or just beyond the fenced yard. Ornamental flower gardens and occasionally vegetable gardens also occupied space within the fenced yard. Animal and utility barns stand beyond the fenced yards and across the driveway, usually about 70' from the fence line and 100' from the dwelling itself.

Historic vegetation within fenced yards includes roses, oleander, cedar, irises, crepe myrtle and daffodils, as well as examples of recently planted material. Such ornamental vegetation usually surrounds the principal house. Vegetable garden plots often occur immediately next to the dwelling, occasionally replacing the traditional front yard. Many garden plots and flower beds are lined with fossilized shells from nearby limestone outcroppings, constitute a local folk decorative tradition. Ornamental fencing usually encloses the primary residence and special garden areas.


Center passage and pyramidal roof forms comprise the majority of historic farmhouse types in the district. Westphalia's earliest extant farmhouses date from c.1880 to c.1900. They tend to reflect a hybrid of traditional American forms modestly influenced by German folk traditions. Dwellings dating after the turn of the century follow fairly standard American traditions in rural housing. Virtually all historic dwellings in the district are frame constructions. Many appear to have been culled from standard planbooks of the period, particularly those built after 1900. Farmhouses generally exhibit little ornamentation or stylistic influences, revealing the practical nature of the regional vernacular architectural vocabulary. Drop and clapboard siding predominate. Lightning rods are common on the primary dwellings and large secondary buildings. Many dwellings reflect the area's rural conservatism, exhibiting plans or designs popular in more settled or urban parts of the country a decade earlier than their construction dates.

The center passage form is among the most common types in the historic district, with local examples dating between 1880 and 1920. Sometimes called a dog-trot, this form incorporates a center hall with flanking single rooms. A gable roof of sheet metal or composition asphalt shingles typically covers the wood frame construction. Gable front or hipped roof porches such as that on the Anton Jansing Farmhouse (Site No. 66) extend from the principal facade, supported by simple wood columns. Examples incorporating a second story comprise the I-house form of the center passage plan. An anomaly in Westphalia, the I-house associated with the Karnowski and Henry Meyer families (Site No. 22) is the only 2-story dwelling that survives in the historic district.

Other vernacular forms in the district include the L- plan, with local examples such as Site No. 44 dating to the period between 1890 and 1920. Featuring rooms arranged in an L-shaped configuration, these houses represent an evolution of the center passage form. Intersecting gable roofs typically cover these farmhouses, with shed roofed porches occupying the primary facade at the point of intersection. Rear ells extending the form result in a a T- plan configuration such as that found at the Bockholt- Lingnau House (Site No. 42). Examples of this form in the district date between 1900 and 1920. Porches generally occupy the lateral stem of these houses, with shed roofs and simple supports typical. The final vernacular form in Westphalia consists of the two-room, or double-pen, house such as that at Site No. 84. Typically built between 1880 and 1920, this form features a condensed plan of only two rooms. Local examples feature two single doors on the principal facade that give independent access to each interior space.

Bungalows comprise the most prevalent house form in the historic district. Built between 1900 and 1940, this 20th century popular form manifests itself in two types in Westphalia. The most prevalent type features open bungalow plans capped by pyramidal roofs. These doublepen, double- pile forms employ box or balloon frame construction dominated by massive pyramidal roofs clad with sheet metal or composite asphalt shingles. The roof sometimes incorporates an inset porch, although shed or hipped roof porches occasionally extend from the roofline or slightly below it. Gable or hipped roof dormers often allow light into upper half-story spaces. The 1912 Frank and Julia Buckholt farmhouse (Site No. 78) best represents the type in the historic district. The second type consists of gable- fronted bungalows. These typically feature either an inset porch or slightly projecting porch with a lower gable roof. Built both in the village and on farmsteads, most of Westphalia's bungalows are simple, unadorned dwellings. A few such as the Dr. J.A. Jansing House (Site No. 57) exhibit modest Craftsman details.


Agricultural outbuildings dominate Westphalia farmsteads both in size and number, thereby reflecting the multiple functions and needs of a rural property. Generally clustered near the primary dwelling, their location within the complex is largely determined by function (storage of corn, hay or equipment) and relationship to nearby land use. These resources are best described based on the penn, a square space of roughly even proportions defined by walls and a gable or shed roof. Single pen outbuildings commonly house privies, tool sheds, or small livestock. Double and triple pen secondary buildings more frequently shelter livestock, house agricultural machinery or store grain. Pens aligned on either side of a passageway within one large gable roof define a transverse barn. Several variations on the basic transverse form exist in the district. Many of these barns also feature lean-to additions encircled with corrals or fencing. Fencing commonly takes the form of horizontal wood fence rails or barbed wire connected to cedar posts. Some of the farmsteads retain root cellars typically set on rock or brick foundations with gable roofs and horizontal wood siding. Almost every historic farmstead maintains a cistern near the rear of the primary dwelling, generally brick constructions with tin linings, concrete sheathing and metal hardware. Several cisterns are incised with the date of construction. In recent years, self- contained manufactured metal cylinders replaced traditional brick cisterns. Some wells and pump houses still exist within the farmsteads. Like the cisterns, most wells are of brick construction lined with concrete. A few working windmills survive in conjunction with a cistern or in a nearby pasture. Westphalians traditionally built large barns with open hay lofts above individual stalls for horses. Separate cow sheds and pens held cattle for feeding and milking. Nearly all Westphalia farmyards contain chicken houses with well-ventilated screened windows and wood shutters. Some farmers raised turkeys, geese and other poultry and their farms contain numerous related buildings including hatcheries. Pig pens and houses abound as do cribs for storing corn and other animal fodder.


In addition to the building complex, Westphalia's farmsteads historically encompassed a large expanse of flat land for cultivation and a four- to five-acre timber plots along creeks such as Pond Creek or North Elm Creek. Timber plots provided fire wood both for heating and cooking. With the exception of large pecan, oak and hackberry trees around building complexes and small orchards, few trees interrupt the cultivated landscape. Planted trees shade dwellings while native timber follows creek beds and fence rows. Fences lined with such volunteer trees and other vegetation separate animal pastures from cultivated fields and creek beds, defining property boundaries. Only a few farms continue to keep three or four acres in natural prairie grass as a permanent supply of hay for cattle. As mechanical vehicles replaced animal power on the farm, many farmers plowed their hay fields. Both the Christopher Fuchs (Site No. 41) and the G.P. Hoelscher (Site No. 99) farmsteads retain unplowed hay meadows (Voltin, 1994). Cattle graze on hilly or sloping land unsuitable for plowing. Stock tanks or ponds to water livestock commonly appear at the lowest elevations of a pasture. Dirt- or gravel-packed county roads generally follow the original farmstead property lines. They link the farms to one another and to SH 320 which has become the district's main arterial. Visually, the unpaved roads, cedar post and barbed wire fencing, gently rolling fields interrupted by timber-lined creeks and elevated building clusters, combine to create a unified landscape pattern throughout the district (see Photo 17).

In contrast to the historic farmsteads, modern fields are plowed to the very edge of the roads and yards to maximize crop yield. They retain few trees or buffer areas of grass or swale for the same reason. Newer farms tend to have larger, leveled fields and contain few fences around which to maneuver heavy equipment. In some instances, modern buildings have replaced all historic ones. In most cases, however, a few historic outbuildings are retained for their ongoing utility.

Throughout the district, some of Westphalia's oldest farmsteads have been abandoned. In many cases, property owners occupy new brick houses situated on the main transportation routes. Often the owners, their relatives or neighbors, continue to farm the associated acreage while the historic buildings fall into disuse and disrepair. The high instance of neglect in such cases currently constitutes the greatest threat to the historic integrity of the district.

Several abandoned farmsteads within the district warrant archeological investigations to further document the community's evolution. In some cases, historic outbuildings survive but the primary dwelling and possibly other associated buildings have been removed. At the Karnowski (Site No. 21) and at the Roessler-Rabroker (Site No. 108) farmsteads, foundation remnants and plantings provide evidence of historic dwellings. In both cases, deteriorating outbuildings also survive. Site No. N53, a farmstead historically associated with members of the Hoelscher family, contains a c.1980 brick ranch house and several manufactured metal buildings. The building complex is dominated by five immense nonhistoric metal silos. However, traditional pasture lands and fencing, along with two historic barns, identify this as a historic building complex site. Isolated cisterns, windmills, cedar fence lines and other historic agricultural features scattered throughout the district, indicate the potential for substantive historic archeological inquiry.


Contributing resources include farmhouses, outbuildings, schools, religious buildings and landscape features that add to the district's overall historic character. Such resources were built before 1945 and appear much as they did during the historic period. Contributing properties buildings not be unaltered or survive in their original state, as few, if any, of the district's historic resources would qualify under such rigid standards. Contributing resources must, however, retain sufficient integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association to be recognizable to the district's period of significance as a German-Catholic rural community. Although resources moved from their original site typically lose their integrity, relocation was common in the historic district. Westphalians often chose to move resources to more convenient sites. When such moves occurred before 1945 and the resource retains other aspects of integrity, it may still be classified as a Contributing element of the district.

As a rural historic landscape, much of Westphalia's significance derives from its historic agricultural fabric. Outbuildings such as barns, tractor sheds, chicken coops and pig pens and other ancillary structures such as cisterns, wells and windmills are counted at as individual elements of the historic district. These outbuildings and agricultural support structures were integral to the everyday life and successful operation of a farm and help establish its historic character. Farmhouses and outbuildings alike reveal land-use and cultural patterns. Their placement, orientation, materials, and scale should be considered in determining integrity. If farm buildings retain their agricultural associations as the focus of a historic farm, they possess integrity of feeling, association and setting. Usually the aspects of integrity most critical for determining if a historic resource is contributing involves materials, design, feeling, and workmanship. Alterations that can affect these factors include replacement of original or historic fenestration patterns or materials, application of synthetic siding, enclosure of open spaces such as porches or balconies, and the construction of additions. These changes do not necessarily warrant classification as noncontributing, however. Mitigating factors include the type of resource, the date of the change, and the combined effect such alterations have on original or historic feeling, materials, workmanship, and design. For example, the enclosure of an original front porch on a farmhouse more adversely affects its historic character than a similar change to a rear porch. The front porch presented the farmhouse's "public face" to the community. Rear or side porches were often historically enclosed to meet changing needs. For instance, rear or side porches were often enclosed as bathrooms when indoor plumbing became available, screened as sleeping space in the summer, or enclosed for storage or pantries. If such changes occurred before 1945, they represent the building's physical evolution as well as broad trends in local history. Adaption of rear porches as bathrooms, for example is the physical manifestation of improvements to public infrastructure in rural areas during the mid-20th century. If the historic property's basic form remains intact, such changes do not prevent its classification as a contributing element of the historic district.

In addition to dwellings and outbuildings, features that help define Westphalia's rural historic landscape may also be listed as contributing elements. Cisterns, wells, and windmills visually reinforce the agricultural character of the landscape and may be classified as contributing elements. Landscape features such as timber lots, cedar post and barbed wire fences, driveways, field roads and traditionally cultivated fields also reinforce the district's rural historic character. For instance, historic farmsteads dedicated about 70% of available cropland to cultivation and another 20% to pasturage. The remaining acreage was reserved for timber lots, orchards, hay meadows and stock ponds, with barbed wire fencing and dirt roads delineating boundaries. Retention of a significant percentage of such features allows classification of the landscape as a whole as a contributing element of the historic district. Conversely, the retention of historic buildings alone does not justify classification of the farmstead landscape as a contributing element. While the Frank and Julia Buckholt farm (Site No. 78) encompasses a historic building complex, the associated acreage has been leveled for intensive modern cultivation practices. While the individual components of the building complex are designated as contributing, the surrounding landscape is a noncontributing feature of the rural historic district. Other landscape features held in common by the community such as the historic pattern of roadways, culverts and drainage ditches also help tie the district together and may also be considered Contributing elements as a whole.

Noncontributing elements typically detract from the district's historic character. Resources in this category were typically built after the district's period of significance and possess little or no architectural or historic significance. They exhibit few of the physical attributes and characteristics that distinguish the historic district and, therefore, are considered intrusive. These properties are indicated by the letter "N" before the site number in the following inventory.

This category also includes historic (pre-1945) properties so severely altered that their original or historic fabric is unrecognizable. While not all alterations detract from a property's integrity, severe alterations can compromise a property's ability to convey its historic character. Common alterations include the permanent enclosure of front porches, alteration of the historic fenestration patterns and replacement of historic fenestration materials. Many original wood-frame windows and wood doors in Westphalia have been replaced with aluminum. While changes sensitive to the original size and location of the opening are easily reversible, cutting of larger openings permanently damage historic fabric. Resources with such irreversible changes are listed in the following inventory as Noncontributing* elements of the historic district.

In recent years several Westphalians have undertaken the rehabilitation of their historic properties. Recognizing Westphalia's historic characteristics they sought to return their properties to a historic appearance. While a few accurately restored original facades, other rehabilitation projects either removed characterdefining historic fabric or added psuedo-historic elements inappropriate to the building's type, design or period. Although such changes have often made a building more appealing they sometimes are not based on historical precedent and detract from the building's historic character. In such cases, a resource may be classified as Noncontributing*. If restored to their original or historic appearances, historic buildings currently classified as Noncontributing* may be reevaluated as Contributing elements. Property owners should consult the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for Rehabilitation before undertaking any restoration work. The Texas Historical Commission in Austin provides copies of these standards and other technical assistance to such rehabilitation efforts.


The following inventory lists all resources in the Westphalia Rural Historic District. Organized by Texas Historic Sites Inventory (THSI) No., the list includes information on the buildings, structures, objects, and sites at each property. The status category identifies elements as Contributing or Noncontributing components of the historic district.

Site #. Name of Property (description), Address; Date. Status

FAL/WE 20. Hoelscher/Heese Farmstead, CR 386;

20a. 1-1/2-story frame center-passage dwelling, c.1890. Contributing

20b. 1-1/2-story frame hay barn. Contributing

20c. 1-story frame animal barn. Contributing

20d. low shed roofed hog pen. Contributing

20e. 1-story frame tractor barn. Contributing

20f. 1-story frame vehicle shed. Contributing

20g. modern 1-story brick dwelling. Noncontributing

20h. 1-story metal barn. Contributing

20i. 1-story metal barn. Contributing

20j. associated landscape features (pond, meadows, fencing, fields). Contributing

FAL/WE 21. Karnowski Farmstead, CR 386;

21a. house site. Noncontributing*

21b. 1- and 2-story hay barn, vertical board siding. Contributing

21c. 1-story animal barn, vertical boards and cedar posts. Contributing

21d. 1-story shed, vertical board and metal siding. Contributing

21e. 1-story hot water house, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

21f. shed roofed pump house with brick/concrete well. Contributing

21g. associated landscape features (fields, pasture, fencing). Contributing

FAL/WE 22. Henry Meyer Farmstead, CR 386;

22a. 2-story I-house dwelling, c.1900. Contributing

22b. 1-1/2-story 3-bay hay barn. Contributing

22c. 1-1/2-story frame animal barn with corral. Contributing

22d. 1-story frame privy. Contributing

22e brick/concrete well Contributing

22f 1-story frame shed Contributing

22g associated landscape features (timber lot, meadows, fencing) Contributing

FAL/WE 23. Farmstead, SH 320;

23a. 1-story bungalow, asbestos siding, c.1935. Noncontributing*

23b. 1-story front-gabled hay and animal barn. Contributing

23c. 1-story frame shed. Contributing

23d. frame, metal- and wood sided hog pen with corn crib. Contributing

23e. associated landscape features (timber lot, meadows). Contributing

FAL/WE 24. Xavier Frei Farmstead, CR 378;

24a. 1-story domestic building (extensive alterations). Noncontributing*

24b. 1-story metal vehicle storage and workshop building. Noncontributing

24c. 1-1/2-story pre-fabricated metal barn. Noncontributing

24d. multi-purpose equipment storage and hay barn. Contributing

24e. associated landscape features (pond, pasture, timber lot). Contributing

FAL/WE 25. Joe Rutschilling Farmstead, CR 378

25a. 1-1/2-story frame dwelling, c.1925. Contributing

25b. 1-story metal auto garage. Contributing

25c. front-gabled frame shed. Contributing

25d. hot water house with metal roof and siding. Contributing

25e. 1-story frame smoke house. Contributing

25f. 1-1/2-story 2-bay frame vehicle barn and garage. Noncontributing*

25g. 1-story rectangular frame oil tank shed. Contributing

25h. 3 circular ruins of cisterns, metal-lined with brick foundations. Noncontributing*

25i. barn ruins. Noncontributing*

25j. 1/2-story frame corn crib.Contributing

25k. cottage garden. Contributing

25l. associated landscape features (pasture, fields, orchard). Contributing

FAL/WE 26. Front-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1930. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 27. Cross-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1940. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 28. Front-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1940. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 29. Front-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1930. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 30. Front-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1930. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 31. Front-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1930. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 32. Craftsman influenced bungalow, SH 320; c.1925. Contributing

FAL/WE 33. Side-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1935. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 34. Side-gabled Bungalow, SH 320; c.1935. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 35. 2-room House, SH 320; c.1900. Contributing

FAL/WE 36. Hoelscher Tenant Bungalow, SH 320; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE 37. Alois Hoelscher Farmstead, SH 320;

37a. hipped roof bungalow, c.1920. Contributing

37b. 1-1/2-story metal hay barn. Contributing

37c. 1 story frame garage. Contributing

37d. 1-story frame shed. Contributing

37e. 1-story new metal utility shed. Noncontributing

37f. 1-story metal tractor barn. Contributing

37g. 1-story metal utility building with porte cochere. Contributing

37h. cottage garden. Contributing

37i. associated landscape features (pasture, pond, siting). Contributing

FAL/WE 39. Xavier Frei farmstead, CR 376;

39a. 1-story frame hipped roof dwelling, c.1920. Contributing

39b. 1-story front-gabled frame barn, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

39c. large side-gabled frame tractor barn. Contributing

39d. frame pumphouse with cylindrical brick/concrete well. Contributing

39e. cylindrical concrete cistern, 4' high. Contributing

39f. cottage garden. Contributing

39g. associated landscape features (fields). Contributing

FAL/WE 40. Schilling/Frei Farmstead, SH 320;

40a. 1-story frame front-gabled bungalow, c.1925. Contributing

40b. 2-1/2-story frame hay barn, vertical siding. Contributing

40c. 1-story 3-bay metal tractor barn. Contributing

40d. 1-story rectangular chicken house. Contributing

40e. 1-story rectangular frame storage shed. Contributing

40f associated landscape features (pond, fencing, pasture). Contributing

FAL/WE 41. Christopher Fuchs Farmstead, SH 320;

41a. 1-1/2-story frame center-passage dwelling, c.1890. Contributing

41b. 1-story, 2-bay storage barn, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

41c. 1-story modern frame storage shed, metal siding. Noncontributing

41d. 1-story front-gabled rectangular equipment garage. Contributing

41e. 1-story square privy, vertical siding. Contributing

41f. 1-story rectangular chicken coop, corrugated metal siding. Contributing

41g. 4 double-pen wood hog pens. Contributing

41h. 1-story, 2-bay rectangular frame barn. Noncontributing

41i. cylindrical steel fuel tank with conical cover. Noncontributing

41j. 1-1/2-story L-plan barn, vertical wood siding. Contributing

41k. 2-foot cistern with steel walls and cover. Contributing

41l. 1- and 2-story rectangular frame barn for cows and hay. Contributing

41m. 1-story, 1-bay frame horse barn, corrugated metal siding. Contributing

41n. 1-story rectangular hen house. Contributing

41o. 1-story, 3-bay, rectangular machinery storage barn. Noncontributing

41p. 1-1/2-story rectangular barn. Contributing

41q. cylindrical, brick/concrete cistern, c.1911. Contributing

41r. 1-story, 2-room tenant dwelling, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

41s. brick-lined cylindrical metal cistern. Contributing

41t cottage garden. Contributing

41u. associated landscape features (hay meadow, fields, pasture). Contributing

FAL/WE 42. Bockholt-Lingnau Farmstead, SH 320;

42a. 1-1/2-story center-passage dwelling, c.1890. Contributing

42b. 1-story modern equipment and vehicle barn, metal siding. Noncontributing

42c. 1-story frame building (relocated Westphalia School music hall). Noncontributing

42d. 1-story 2-car garage, synthetic siding. Noncontributing

42e. 1-story 1-bay garage, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

42f. 1/2-story metal tractor barn. Contributing

42g. windmill (Aeromotor brand). Contributing

42h. brick cistern with concrete lining. Contributing

42i. associated landscape features (corn fields, pasture, pond). Contributing

FAL/WE 43. Bungalow with asbestos siding, SH 320; c.1940. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 44. Dwelling, 1-1/2-story front-gabled, SH 320; c.1890. Contributing

FAL/WE 45. Modern dwelling with synthetic siding, SH 320; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE 46. Craftsman bungalow, front-gabled, Main Vil Rd.; c.1925. Contributing

FAL/WE 47. Johnny Thornton Store/Old Store, Main Vil Rd.; c.1907. Contributing

FAL/WE 48. Walter Fiedler Farmstead, Main Vil Rd.;

48a. center-passage plan dwelling, c.1900. Contributing

48b. 1-story rectangular hay and animal barn. Contributing

48c. 1-story garage, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

48d. 1-story frame and brick hot water house. Contributing

48e. 1-story frame privy. Contributing

FAL/WE 49. Bungalow, SH 320;

49a. front-gabled dwelling with synthetic siding, c.1930. Noncontributing*

49b. 1-1/2-story frame barn with vertical board siding. Contributing

FAL/WE 50. 2-bay front-gabled garage, SH 320; c.1930. Contributing

FAL/WE 51. Bungalow, SH 320;

51a. Hipped roof bungalow with board-and-batten siding, c.1920. Contributing

51b. 1-1/2-story frame barn with hay loft. Contributing

FAL/WE 52. Bungalow with board-and-batten siding, SH 320; c.1920. Contributing

FAL/WE 53. Bungalow with aluminum siding, SH 320; c.1920. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 54. Greener Garage, Main Vil Rd.; c.1925. Contributing

FAL/WE 55. Westphalia Drug Store, Main Vil Rd.; c.1914. Contributing

FAL/WE 56. Bungalow with asbestos siding, Main Vil Rd.; c.1925. Contributing

FAL/WE 57. Dr. B.A Jansing Bungalow, Main Vil Rd.; c.1920. Contributing

FAL/WE 58. Frank Gausemeier House, Main Vil Rd.;

58a. 1-1/2-story hipped roof bungalow, c.1917. Contributing

58b. 1-1/2-story wood animal barn. Contributing

58c. side-gabled frame utility shed. Contributing

58d. cottage garden. Contributing

FAL/WE 59. Hipped roof Bungalow, FM 431; c.1920. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 61. G.P Hoelscher Farmstead, CR 371;

61a. 2-room dwelling, board-and-batten siding, c.1890. Contributing

61b. 1-1/2-story frame hay barn. Contributing

61c. 1-story hog barn, metal siding. Contributing

61d. shed roofed chicken house. Contributing

61e. chicken house. Contributing

61f. 1-story single bay tractor barn. Contributing

61g. 1-story metal garage, masonite siding. Noncontributing

61h. 1-story sheet metal shed. Noncontributing

61i. utility shed, board-and-batten and metal siding. Contributing

61j. 2-bay, 2-car garage. Contributing

61k. brick cistern with concrete sheathing, 1908. Contributing

61l. brick well with pump house. Contributing

61m. associated landscape features (pasture, pond, plank bridge). Contributing

FAL/WE 62. B.H. Wilde Farmstead, CR 371;

62a. 1-story front-gabled bungalow with asbestos siding, c.1925. Contributing

62b. 1-1/2-story metal hay barn. Contributing

62c. manufactured metal garage. Noncontributing

62d. metal shed. Noncontributing

62e. wood shed. Contributing

62f. frame bridge. Contributing

62g. 1-1/2-story frame barn. Contributing

62h. 1-story frame vehicle garage, metal siding. Contributing

62i. low shed roofed frame hog pen. Contributing

62j. brick well with concrete sheathing. Contributing

62k. associated landscape features (pasture, fencing). Contributing

FAL/WE 63. B.H Wilde Family House, CR 371; c.1890. Contributing

FAL/WE 65. Anton Jansing Estate Farmstead No. 1, CR 372;

65a. Center-passage plan dwelling, c.1930 additions; c.1890. Contributing

65b. 1-1/2-story frame barn. Contributing

65c. 1-story frame storage barn, vertical board siding. Contributing

65d. 1-story 3-bay frame garage. Contributing

65e. modern frame barn, metal siding. Noncontributing

65f. 1-story frame privy. Contributing

65g. 1-story frame barn and storage building. Contributing

65h. associated landscape features (pasture). Contributing

FAL/WE 66. Anton Jansing Estate Farmstead No. 2, CR 372;

66a. center-passage plan dwelling, lap siding, c.1890. Contributing

66b. 2-story animal and hay barn, vertical board siding. Contributing

66c. 1-story metal garage with carport. Contributing

66d. 1-story frame barn. Contributing

FAL/WE 67. Lucy Biemer Family Farmstead, CR 378;

67a. 1-1/2-story frame dwelling, asbestos siding, c.1915. Contributing

67b. 1-story frame barn with vertical board siding. Contributing

67c. 1-story frame vehicle garage. Contributing

67d. 1-story modern shed with masonite siding. Noncontributing

67e. 1-story modern metal barn. Noncontributing

67f. 1-story cattle feeder, metal siding and roofing. Noncontributing

67g. associated landscape features (grove, pasture). Contributing

FAL/WE 72. Joseph Kahlig Family Farmstead, CR 378;

72a. 1-story frame center-passage plan house, c.1890. Contributing

72b. 1- to 2-story metal hay barn. Contributing

72c. 1- to 1-1/2-story metal buggy barn. Contributing

72d. low pig pen. Contributing

72e. 1-story frame barn. Contributing

72f. modern shed, masonite siding. Noncontributing

72g. 1-story frame root cellar with brick basement. Contributing

72h. 1-story frame chicken house, metal siding. Contributing

72i. 1-story metal shed. Contributing

72j. 1-story metal tractor and auto barn. Contributing

72k. cottage garden. Contributing

72l. associated landscape features (pond, pasture, fencing, siting). Contributing

FAL/WE 73. Rabroker Farmstead Division No. 1, CR 378;

73a. side-gabled bungalow with asbestos siding, c.1935. Noncontributing*

73b. 1-1/2-story frame barn. Contributing

73c. 1 story frame animal barn. Contributing

73d. 2-story metal hay barn. Contributing

73e. 2-story modern metal vehicle and storage barn. Noncontributing

73f. metal cistern. Noncontributing

73g. 1-story frame barn. Noncontributing

73h. 1-story metal barn. Noncontributing

73i. 1-1/2-story frame barn. Contributing

73j. associated landscape features (pond, fencing). Contributing

FAL/WE 74. Rabroker Farmstead Division No. 2, CR 378;

74a. front-gabled H-plan dwelling, asbestos siding, c.1900. Contributing

74b. 2-story metal hay and vehicle barn. Contributing

74c. 1-story frame side-gabled garage. Contributing

74d. metal storage shed. Noncontributing

74e. 1-story metal barn. Contributing

FAL/WE 75. Rabroker Farmstead Division No. 3, CR 378;

75a. front-gabled Craftsman influenced bungalow, 1928. Contributing

75b. 1-1/2-story metal hay barn with corral. Contributing

75c. 1-story frame garage. Contributing

75d. 1-story front-gabled frame shed. Contributing

75e. windmill on large stock pond Contributing

75f. 1-story side-gabled frame barn. Contributing

75g. associated landscape features (timber lot, stock pond, fencing). Contributing

FAL/WE 76. Anton Fuchs Associated Farmstead, CR 370;

76a. front-gabled bungalow with Craftsman influences, c.1925. Contributing

76b. 2-story metal hay barn. Contributing

76c. 1-story cedar post barn. Contributing

76d. 1-story open sided metal barn. Contributing

76e. cylindrical metal cistern. Noncontributing

76f. 1-story metal gable-roofed shed. Contributing

76g. 1-story metal shed. Contributing

76h. 1-story metal shed. Contributing

76i. 1-story modern brick dwelling. Noncontributing

76j. quonset style metal barn. Noncontributing

76k. large manufactured metal barn. Noncontributing

FAL/WE 78. Frank J. and Julia Buckholt Farmstead, CR 379;

78a. 1-1/2-story hipped roof bungalow, 1912. Contributing

78b. 1- and 2-story hay and cattle barn, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

78c. 1-story chicken house, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

78d. 1-story garage/work shed, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

78e. 1-story storage building/garage, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

78f. 1-story chicken house, vertical board siding. Contributing

78g. low shed roofed frame pig pens with metal feed silo. Contributing

78h. cottage garden. Contributing

FAL/WE 79. St. Mary's Cemetery, Church Rd;

79a. swept gravesites, c.1895. Contributing

79b. statue of Jesus Christ on the Cross, c.1908. Contributing

79c. wrought iron fencing. Contributing

79d. wrought iron entry arch/chain link fence, c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE 80. Dwelling with aluminum siding, Church Rd; c.1956. Noncontributing

FAL/WE 81. Bungalow with asbestos siding, Church Rd; c.1930. Noncontributing

FAL/WE 82. Concrete block dwelling, Church Rd; c.1930. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 83. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1950 Noncontributing

FAL/WE 84. Dwelling, Church Rd;

84a. 1-1/2-story with 2-room plan frame dwelling, c.1890. Contributing

84b. 1-story metal barn. Contributing

84c. small 1-story frame and metal shed. Contributing

84d. Well. Contributing

FAL/WE 85. Modified L-plan dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1900. Contributing

FAL/WE 86. Stefka-Hoelscher-Doscocil Cotton Gin, Cot Gin Rd.; c.1930. Contributing

FAL/WE 88. Westphalia Little School, Church Rd.; c.1896. Contributing

FAL/WE 89. Corpus Christi Chapel, Church Rd.; c.1930. Contributing

FAL/WE 90. St Mary's High School/Sister House, Church Rd.; 1921. Contributing

FAL/WE 91. Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, Church Rd.;

91a. frame church with twin towers. 1895. Contributing

91b. grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. 1945. Contributing

91c. cistern, c.1911. Contributing

FAL/WE 92. Henry Rabroker House, Main Vil Rd.;

92a. 1-1/2-story center-passage plan dwelling, c.1890. Contributing

92b. 1-1/2-story frame barn. Contributing

92c. low shed roofed chicken house. Contributing

92d. 1-story 2-bay frame garage. Contributing

92e. cottage garden. Contributing

92f. associated landscape features (corn fields, pasture). Contributing

FAL/WE 96. L. Wunsch Family Farmstead, CR 388;

96a. 1-story frame cross-gabled Craftsman bungalow, c.1925. Contributing

96b. 1-1/2-story 4-bay metal tractor barn. Noncontributing

96c. 1-story single bay metal tractor barn. Contributing

96d. 1-story chicken house, metal siding. Contributing

96e. 1-story utility shed, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

96f. 1-story frame shed, metal and asphalt siding. Noncontributing

96g. 1-1/2-story frame animal barn, horizontal frame siding. Contributing

96h. 1-story front-gabled garage, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

96i. 1-1/2-story metal equipment storage barn. Contributing

96j. associated landscape features (pasture, siting) Contributing

FAL/WE 97. Front-gabled bungalow, CR 388; c.1930. Contributing

FAL/WE 98. G. Hoelscher Family Farmstead, CR 388;

98a. center-passage plan dwelling, c.1893. Contributing

98b. 1-1/2-story frame barn. Contributing

98c. 1-story garage, vertical board siding. Contributing

98d. 1-story frame shed. Contributing

98e. associated landscape features (pasture, fields, timber lot). Contributing

FAL/WE 99. G.P. Hoelscher Associated Farmstead, CR 388;

99a. 1-story center-passage plan dwelling, c.1890. Contributing

99b. 1-1/2-story frame hay barn. Contributing

99c. 1-1/2-story frame garage. Contributing

99d. low shed roofed hen house. Contributing

99e. 1-story metal sided tractor shed. Contributing

99f. 1-story frame corn crib Contributing

99g. 1-story frame hot water house and workshop. Contributing

99h. frame privy. Contributing

99i. brick/concrete cistern. Contributing

99j. concrete sheathed brick well. Contributing

99k. cottage and formal gardens. Contributing

99l. associated landscape features (timber lot, fencing, fields). Contributing

FAL/WE 100. Wilde-Gottschalk Farmstead, CR 388;

100a. center-passage plan dwelling with rear ell, c.1890. Contributing

100b. 1-1/2-story metal barn. Contributing

100c. 1-story modern metal barn with standing seam roof. Noncontributing

100d. 1-story frame 2-car garage, c.1925. Contributing

100e. 1-story frame tool shed. Contributing

100f. brick/concrete cistern. Contributing

100g. cottage garden. Contributing

100h. associated landscape features (siting, orchard, fencing). Contributing

FAL/WE 101. Joseph Frenzel Sr. Farmstead, CR 388;

101a. 2-room plan frame dwelling, c.1900. Contributing

101b. 1-1/2-story hay barn, 1940. Contributing

101c. metal cistern. Noncontributing

101d. 4 frame shed roofed poultry houses. Contributing

101e. smoke house/tool shed, board-and-batten siding Contributing

101f. frame grain storage shed with metal roof. Contributing

101g. tractor/car garage. Contributing

101h. manufactured metal shed. Noncontributing

101i. associated landscape features (pond, pasture, siting). Contributing

FAL/WE 102. John and Otilia Frei Farmstead, CR 388;

102a. 1-1/2-story hipped roof bungalow, c.1918. Contributing

102b. 1-1/2-story 6-bay animal/hay barn, metal siding. Contributing

102c. 1-story metal side-gabled equipment storage barn. Noncontributing

102d. 1-story side-gabled 3-bay garage. Contributing

102e. front-gabled well house. Contributing

102f. flat roofed privy, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

102g. cottage garden. Contributing

102h. associated landscape features (fields). Contributing

FAL/WE 103. Center-passage dwelling, CR 388;

103a. 1-1/2-story center-passage frame dwelling. C.1900. Contributing

103b. associated landscape elements (timber lot, fields). Contributing

FAL/WE 104. B.J. Hoelscher Associated Farmstead, CR 388;

104a. frame dwelling, historically moved, c.1900. Contributing

104b. 1-1/2-story animal barn, metal siding. Contributing

104d. hipped roof garage with a shed roof addition. Contributing

104e. collapsed frame hay barn. Noncontributing*

104f. side-gabled frame utility shed. Contributing

104g. associated landscape features (fields, pasture). Contributing

FAL/WE 105. Front-gabled bungalow, alterations, CR 380; c.1930. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE 107. Farmstead, CR 378;

107a. 1-story brick ranch house, c.1970. Noncontributing

107b. 1-1/2-story frame barn with wood shingled roof. Contributing

107c. 1-story frame vehicle barn/garage. Contributing

107d. 1-story frame utility building with metal roof. Contributing

107e. associated landscape features (pastures, pond, siting). Contributing

FAL/WE 108. Roessler/Rabroker Associated Farm, CR 378;

108a. 1-story modern brick dwelling, c.1970. Noncontributing

108b. 1-story modern frame garage. Noncontributing

108c. 1-story modern metal barn. Noncontributing

108d. 2-room dwelling/hot water house, board-and-batten siding. Contributing

108e. frame barn ruin. Noncontributing*

108f. 1-story equipment storage shed, wood siding. Contributing

108g. cylindrical water tower with a conical metal cap. Contributing

108h. large windmill next to a stock pond off North Elm Creek. Contributing

108i. side-gabled frame storage shed with metal roof. Contributing

108j. side-gabled frame shed. Contributing

108k. large chicken house, wood siding. Contributing

108l. chicken house, wood siding Contributing

108m. brick/concrete cistern. Contributing

108n. Roessler family house foundation ruins and plantings. Noncontributing*

108o. 1-story sanitary privy, built by CCC, c.1938. Contributing

108p. associated landscape features (timber lot). Contributing

FAL/WE 109. Bungalow, Inner Loop; c.1930. Contributing

FAL/WE 110. Bungalow, Inner Loop; c.1940. Contributing

FAL/WE 111. Bungalow, Inner Loop; c.1935. Contributing

FAL/WE 112. Historic road network (SH 320, county roads, field roads, etc.). Contributing

FAL/WE 113. Historic infrastructure (plank bridges, 1940s culverts, etc.). Contributing

FAL/WE 114. Historic landscape features (fences, gardens, stock ponds, etc.). Contributing

FAL/WE 115. Historic artifacts (windmills, abandoned ag. Equipment, etc.). Contributing

FAL/WE n2. Ranch style dwelling, Inner Loop; c.1975. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n4. Ranch style dwelling, Inner Loop; c.1965. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n6. Ranch style dwelling, Inner Loop; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n7. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n8. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n9. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1960. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n10. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n11. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n12. 1-1/2-story dwelling, SH 320; c.1990. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n13. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n14. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1950 Noncontributing

FAL/WE n15. Commercial building, modern addition, SH 320; c.1930. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE n16. Industrial complex, CR 379; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n17. Ranch style dwelling, Main Vil Rd.; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n18. Ranch style dwelling, Main Vil Rd.; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n19. Ranch style dwelling, Main Vil Rd.; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n20. Ranch style dwelling, Main Vil Rd.; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n21. 2-story metal storage barn, Main Vil Rd.; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n22. Ranch style dwelling, SH 320; c.1990. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n23. Ranch style dwelling, Main Vil Rd.; c.1975. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n24. 1-1/2-story dwelling, CR 371; c.1980 Noncontributing

FAL/WE n25. Ranch style dwelling, CR 371; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n26. Farmstead, CR 371;

26a. brick ranch style dwelling, c.1970. Noncontributing

26b. modern metal barn. Noncontributing

26c. modern metal barn. Noncontributing

26d. modern metal garage. Noncontributing

26e. 1-story frame garage. Contributing

FAL/WE n27. Ranch style dwelling, CR 378; c.1985. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n28. Ranch style dwelling, CR 378; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n29. Modern dwelling, CR 370; c.1975. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n30. Ranch style dwelling, CR 371; c.1975. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n31. Modern dwelling, CR 371; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n32. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n33. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1950. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n34. Modern dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1960. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n35. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n36. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1960. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n37. Church Rectory, Church Rd.; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n38. Church School, Church Rd.; c.1989. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n39. Prefabricated-metal school building, Church Rd.; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n40. Church School, Church Rd.; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n41. Prefabricated-metal building, Church Rd.; c.1970. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n42. New Parish Hall, SH 320; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n43. Metal garage, SH 320; c.1980. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n44. Old Parish Hall, SH 320; c.1940. Noncontributing*

FAL/WE n45. 1-story metal outbuilding, Church Rd.; c.1985. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n46. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1985 Noncontributing

FAL/WE n47. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1985. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n48. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1985. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n49. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1985. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n50. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1985. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n51. Ranch style dwelling, Church Rd.; c.1965. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n52. Modern dwelling, CR 388; c.1990. Noncontributing

FAL/WE n53. Hoelscher Family Associated Farm, CR 379;

53a. 1-story brick ranch dwelling, c.1980. Noncontributing

53b. 5 large connected metal silos. Noncontributing

53c. 1-story manufactured outbuilding, metal siding. Noncontributing

53d. 1-story manufactured outbuilding, masonite siding. Noncontributing

53e. 1-1/2-story metal barn with standing seam metal roof. Contributing

53f. 1-story metal barn with metal roof. Contributing

53g. associated landscape features (pasture, fencing). Contributing

FAL/WE n54. Modern dwelling, CR 379; c.1990 Noncontributing

FAL/WE n55. Mobile home, CR 378; c.1980. Noncontributing

Set amidst the blackland prairie of western Falls County, the Westphalia Rural Historic District encompasses a cohesive collection of late 19th and early 20th century farms surrounding the small village of Westphalia. This rural historic landscape continues to evoke the cultural traditions of the community's German Catholic founders. Initially settling the region in the 1880s, these pioneers established agricultural patterns still evident in building and cultivation characteristics, spatial organization of farmsteads and methods of boundary demarcation. Consistent vegetation patterns, construction methods and road networks further reinforce this continuity. As a result, this rural historic landscape retains strong visual evidence of its late 19th and early 20th century development patterns. The Westphalia Rural Historic District is therefore nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A for its agricultural associations. It is also eligible at the local level of significance under Criterion C as an illustrative example of community planning and development in a rural setting.


A group of six German Catholic families established the community of Westphalia in the early 1880s. Most had emigrated from the Westphalia district of Germany to Texas in the decade following the American Civil War. They followed Theodore Rabroker from the village of Frelsburg in northeastern Colorado County to the unbroken grass land of the Martin Byerly Survey in Falls County. The desire to farm their own land, educate their children according to their religious beliefs and practice their Catholic faith without interference compelled them to break new ground. On these founding principles, they built a church and school facilities at the heart of an extended rural agricultural community. Guided by tradition and faith, the community of Westphalia prospered for more than 100 years. Today, the village and surrounding farms comprise a rural historic landscape that bespeaks the region's agrarian past.


Early Anglo-European settlement in Falls County concentrated in the fertile bottomlands of the Brazos and Little rivers in the eastern portion of the county. Farmers considered the blackland prairie of the western half of the county undesirable for agriculture (Efnor, 105). In the decade preceding the Civil War, the region's few residents primarily engaged in stockraising on the vast unfenced range. Although immigration into the county virtually ceased during the Civil War, thousands of displaced southern farmers came to Texas in the period after the war. These new settlers, particularly those from the red clay regions of the southeast, shunned the blackland prairie, however. An immigrant of this period refused to trade a gun for a half section of land [320 acres] because "the land was black, and no one believed that anything but red soil was good for raising cotton" (St. Romain, 53). With bottomland at a premium during this period, however, some immigrants opted to raise cattle in the relatively inexpensive grasslands of western Falls County.

Cattle ranged freely across the region's prairies throughout the 1870s and early 1880s. The entire area remained unfenced until about 1884 (St. Romain, 55). A few cattlemen like Elijah Davison, who raised stock near present Westphalia, achieved success. When Davison established his herds in western Falls County during the 1860s and early 1870s, "it was then on the border land of the limitless prairie; there were no mesquites, except very old and hoary ones, as the periodical prairie fires that swept the plains kept them burned back" (St. Romain, 58).

The free range allowed Texans to raise beef for about the same cost as chickens. As a result, Texas became the dominant cattle producing state, with major markets in New Orleans, Shreveport and Alexandria (Murray, 29). From the late 1860s until the mid 1880s, cattlemen like Davison and his partner George H. Gassaway conducted annual drives to market, linking up with the Chisholm Trail at Proctor's Spring in present Waco (St. Romain, 69). Successful stock raisers achieved a comfortable, if not luxurious, livelihood from the open range. A successful rancher like Davison, for example, often lived in a small log cabin with dirt floors (St. Romain, 60). Enough ranchers lived in the vicinity of Pond Creek by the late 1870s to support a school in the area. Willow Springs School was established near Davison's ranch about 1877. Encouraged by high beef prices and improved access to rail transportation between 1880 and 1885, area stockmen increased their herds until the range in the western part of the county became overcrowded. Concurrently, farmers began buying land in the open range area, fencing it for cultivation. By 1884-85 these fences began impeding the free range of cattle and the cattle drives.

Seeking a practical solution to market access, both ranchers and stock farmers encouraged construction of rail lines through the region. Poor quality roads and the region's thick clay mud hampered travel, particularly after a rain. Farmers often struggled to get their products by ox cart to the nearest market in Houston, about 180 miles to the south (Efnor, 187). Construction of the Waco trunk of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad (H&TC) through the southeast quadrant of the county revolutionized the transportation of cattle and farm products. The San Antonio and Aransas Pass (SA&AP) extended a trunk line into western Falls County during this period (St. Romain, 70). The Texas Townsite Company of Waco purchased 1,600 acres of Gassaway's ranch in 1889, donating a right-of-way to the SA&AP in exchange for the privilege of developing the town of Lott (St. Romain, 74). Lott's access to the rail line subsequently drained the populations of small rural communities in the region (St. Romain 1951:102).

By the 1880s the blackland prairie achieved recognition as "the great cotton belt of the Brazos River" (Efnor, 186). Statistics for the county in 1880 documented river valley production of 500 pounds of lint cotton and 50-75 bushels of corn per acre. Consisting "of rich prairie and well- timbered lands, about equally divided," the upland prairie produced 35-50 bushels of corn per acre, 15-30 bushels of wheat, 50-75 bushels of rye and barley, and 350-500 pounds of lint cotton per acre (Efnor, 186). Unimproved land in Falls County varied from $2.00 to $5.00 per acre and nearly all Brazos Valley lands were in cultivation, planted primarily in cotton and corn. The population of the county was estimated at 20,000 with people from every state and many from foreign countries (Efnor, 187). A contemporary writer described an idyllic scene in Falls County: "numerous schools are scattered over the county, all well-attended; church spires rear their heads in the midst of every community, a sure indication of morality and peace" (Efnor, 187). It was apparent that the prairies were no longer considered inferior lands and it is in this context that the first German immigrants came to the place in western Falls County that became known as Westphalia.


Three major waves of immigration brought German settlers to Texas. A small number of Germans came to Texas in the last years of Mexican sovereignty and in the Texas Republic period. Most settled together along the coast and adjacent territory that defines the southeastern region of Texas. Among the earliest of these communities are Industry and Cat Spring, both in Austin County, and Frelsburg, in northeastern Colorado County. Frelsburg played an important role in Westphalia's history because it was one of the first German Catholic parishes in Texas (established 1836) and most of Westphalia's original settlers came from that community. Frelsburg's historic Catholic church, rectory, school and cemetery occupy the highest promontory in the area, with the family farms spreading out over the surrounding countryside. This may have been the model for Westphalia's later village and farmstead landscape.

Following this first small wave, the largest concentrated efforts at soliciting German emigration to Texas resulted from the actions of the Adelsverein, a German colonization association that formed in response to political unrest in Germany and operated from 1844 to 1847 (Webb, 685). The organization had both philanthropic and economic goals: its managers hoped to provide a safe haven for thousands of German emigrants as well as realize a profit on their investments as land values increased (Jordan, 43). During this period, the Texas German towns of New Braunfels (1845) and Fredricksburg (1846) were established as way stations for immigrants traveling between the coastal ports of Indianola and Galveston to the tract of verein land in west-central Texas known as the Fisher-Miller Grant (Jordan, 43). Although the loftier aims of the Adelsverein went largely unfulfilled, the association succeeded in attracting thousands of German settlers to present Comal, Gillespie and Llano counties. From there they spread to the western counties of Guadalupe, Kerr, and Kendall. The Adelsverein also encouraged greater German settlement into the southeastern region into present Calhoun, Victoria, DeWitt, Lavaca, Colorado, Austin, Washington, Fayette, and Bastrop counties (Webb, 685), in what some have called the "German-belt". By the outbreak of the American Civil War, the German population of Texas numbered about 30,000 (Jordan, 54).

After a temporary halt in immigration during the Civil War, the German influx resumed (Jordan, 54). Catholic immigration, in particular, increased during the latter half of the 19th century as a result of Otto von Bismark's kulturkampf, an effort to modernize Germany and purge the country of old-fashioned customs. Von Bismark targeted Catholicism as an impediment to progress and German Catholics suffered under his leadership. His efforts to increase industrialization of the Ruhr Valley, including the Muensterland and Westphalia, ultimately displaced traditional farming, the occupation of most Catholics in that region. German Catholic farmers had little choice but to emigrate if they wanted to continue their traditional lifeways. Arriving at the ports of Indianola and Galveston, these immigrants were farmers who moved inland in search of good crop land near established German communities. By the 1870s, however, the land around German towns like Frelsburg, Industry New Braunfels and Fredricksburg had been settled for 30-40 years. Most German families divided their farms among their sons and by the 1870s, little was available for new immigrants. Recent immigrants were forced to look beyond the established German communities for new farmland.


Most of Westphalia's earliest male settlers, including Theodore Rabroker, arrived in the United States following the American Civil War. Many spent up to ten years in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois or Iowa before traveling to Texas (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900). By 1879, however, Theodore Rabroker, John G. Bockholt, Caspar Hoelscher, Henry Glass, Frank Glass, Fritz Schneider, and Theodore Schneider all lived in Frelsburg (Beach, 7). Welcomed by Frelsburg's Catholic community, these more recent immigrants probably found little available farmland.

Resolution of this dilemma came as the collapse of the plantation system in Texas opened up large tracts of previously undeveloped or underutilized lands. Typically, large land owners divided their holdings into small farms to be sold or leased to the new arrivals (Jordan, 55). At the same time, railroad companies expanding into Texas offered homesteads to those willing to develop property in the vast tracts of land granted to them along new rail lines. Such development added to the value of other railroad property and the companies realized great profits from the sale of their "free" land. Railroad companies actively solicited German settlement in their interior lands, offering attractive bargains to land-hungry farmers (Jordan, 55). Although details are vague, Theodore Rabroker apparently served as an agent or liaison to recruit other German Catholic settlers to railroad company-owned land in Westphalia (Rabroker State Marker File).

Both written and oral accounts indicate that the land itself enticed Rabroker and his compatriots to leave Frelsburg. The wholly undeveloped tract contained sufficient acreage to create a new agricultural community. Rabroker's inspection of the property in 1877 determined its high fertility. To former residents of Germany's Ruhr valley, the most highly industrial and densely populated region of western Europe at that time, the expansive prairie held limitless agricultural possibilities.

In addition, the settlers intended to build a community based on their German Catholic religious and cultural values. They may have been influenced in this endeavor by the colonization efforts of Carl and Emil Flusche, two devout Catholic brothers who were also from Westphalia, Germany. The brothers purchased large parcels of land and recruited German Catholic settlers throughout the midwest, particularly in Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois, to colonize their property (Webb, 243). Flusche communities in Iowa and Kansas bear the name of their German homeland of Westphalia (Voltin 1993). The brothers realized a modest profit through the resale of land but their driving zeal was religious rather than secular. Between 1889 and 1907, they founded five separate communities in Texas: Muenster (1889) and Lindsay (1891) in Cooke County, Pilot Point (1891) in Denton-Grayson County, Fulda (1895) in Baylor County and Mount Carmel (1907) in Wichita County (Jordan, 56). Although these communities post-date Westphalia, it is likely that Rabroker knew of the Flusche communities in Iowa, before he moved to Texas.

Since his arrival in the United States in 1866, Rabroker had lived in Pennsylvania (until 1874) and near Des Moines, Iowa before moving his wife Mary Ann (Brucktrops) and their four children to Texas (Berres, n.p.). In the fall of 1876, Theodore Rabroker and his family traveled for six weeks by covered wagon from Iowa to Tarrant County, Texas in search of a milder climate for Mrs. Rabroker who was not well. The family remained in Tarrant County only one year before pulling up stakes again for northern Colorado County and the little German settlement of Frelsburg (Berres n.d.). Rabroker passed through western Falls County on the way to Frelsburg in 1877 and, according to local tradition, Rabroker was so impressed with the fertile prairie and the possibility of establishing a German Catholic community there, that he abandoned Frelsburg for western Falls County two years later. On 9 November 1879, Rabroker, his wife and three children arrived at their homestead, about two miles west of the current village of Westphalia, becoming the first German Catholic settlers in western Falls County (Rabroker State Marker File).

The Rabrokers worked the land for another two years before they purchased the parcel and built a permanent home. During that time the family lived in their wagon and a small wooden shed (Didner 1993). In 1881, Theodore Rabroker purchased 271 acres from William Neyland who had acquired a large parcel of land from descendants of Martin Byerly, recipient of the original patent in 1850 (Falls County Deed Records). At that time, Rabroker entered into an agreement with Neyland to serve as an agent for further land sales (Rabroker State Marker File). Possibly in response to the ill-treatment of Catholics in Germany, Rabroker determined to reserve the surrounding territory within a five-mile radius of the village, exclusively for German Catholic settlement (Berres, n.p.; St. Romain, 107). This decision shaped the character of the community for a century to follow. Rabroker actively solicited fellow German Catholics from Frelsburg to move to Westphalia by offering 270-acre homesteads to the first families who joined him in the venture (Berres, n.p.; St. Romain, 107). To ease the transition to the undeveloped territory, he provided his own home, and later separate guest houses, as temporary quarters for new families (Berres n.p.). Rabroker's family house burned in a fire in 1975 (Berres n.p.).

Johann [John] Bockholt was the first to respond to Rabroker's land offer and in 1881, he brought his wife, Theresia, and their children to western Falls County. A few months later, Caspar Hoelscher, Frank Glass, Henry Glass, Fritz Schneider, and Theodore Schneider, together with their families, traveled from Frelsburg as a group to the new settlement (St. Romain, 107). Within the year, a second group of settlers arrived from Frelsburg, giving the fledgling colony a total of 13 families, each situated on 270-acre parcels surrounding the Rabroker farmstead (Beach, 8). By the time the immigrants formed their new community, most had lived in the United States for ten to fifteen years and had traveled and lived throughout the mid-west and Texas before settling on a permanent home. At a community gathering, the group decided to call their community Westphalia, after their former in the Westphalia province of Germany (Voltin 1979, 7).

LIFE ON THE PRAIRIE, 1882 - 1900

According to a retrospective written to commemorate the community's 50th anniversary, little is known about the activities of the pioneers' first year, "probably because every man had his own to build, his soil to till, and his family to provide for" (Beach, 8). Several local accounts relate that the pioneer settlers first erected shelters for their families and livestock. The earliest dwellings were two-room cabins which were either enlarged or replaced as time passed. Ervin Kahlig recalled that his grandfather's two-room cabin survived on his property, near the creek until recently (Kahlig 1993). Later the grandfather built the current Kahlig House (Site No. 72). John Bockholt's grandson, John Lingnau, also described his grandfather's original dwelling, a two-room affair, as a cabin. When Bockholt built a permanent house on his site a few years later, he moved the cabin to the agricultural area of his complex and used it as a blacksmith shop. Today, only a few two-room dwellings of this early period of development survive in the Westphalia Rural Historic District. The Joseph Frenzel Sr. farmstead (Site No. 101) retains its original two-room dwelling dating to the 1880s. Site No. 84, across from the church, also dates to the earliest period of development but its detailing and construction materials indicate that it was a permanent dwelling, unlike the two-room "cabins" that provided only temporary shelter.

In addition to the dwelling, pioneers built shelters for their livestock which included cattle, horses, mules, pigs and poultry. Simple barns, sheds, pig pens and hen houses were among the first construction priorities for the pioneers. Today, historic barns, chicken houses, storage sheds, garages, and root cellars are in continued use at farms like the Joseph Kahlig (Site No. 72) and the Christopher Fuchs (Site No. 41) farmsteads. They built privies and dug wells or erected cisterns. Examples of privies, wells, cisterns and numerous types of agricultural outbuildings exist but most probably date to the early 20th century. Again, the G. P. Hoelscher (Site No. 99), Christopher Fuchs (Site No. 41) and Joseph Kahlig (Site No. 72) farmsteads retain many of their early outbuildings and agricultural structures including privies, cisterns and wells. Once the family and animals obtained rudimentary shelter, the farmers wasted little time putting their plows to the soil.

Although farmers originally doubted the prospects for cotton on the blackland prairie, by the time Rabroker and his colonists arrived in the Westphalia area, cotton cultivation was widespread throughout the region. The German settlers did not immediately plant the cash crop, however. Instead, they initially raised pigs and cattle, grew feed for their livestock, and developed subsistence- level plots to sustain their families (Voltin 1993). In fact, during the early settlement period, the inhabitants of Westphalia, Texas generally followed the agricultural practices and techniques of their countrymen in the Westphalia district of Germany. In 19th century Europe, German farming was characterized by an emphasis on small grains, improved pasture and manure-producing livestock. In the Muensterland, of which Westphalia was a part, rye was the dominant grain, followed by oats, but nearly all German farmers grew hay and oats to feed their livestock (Jordan, 33). The Westphalians followed this tradition in Texas and their first crops consisted of corn and feed crops to harvest and store for animals during winter months. By the second generation, however, cotton predominated in Westphalia and became the community's principal cash crop (Voltin 1993). By 1900, the community was well-involved in cotton cultivation and supported a commercial cotton gin.

When the Westphalian pioneers arrived at their farmsteads, ranchers continued to raise cattle on the open range and participate in annual drives to Waco for railroads bound for northern markets (Voltin 1993). Since the farmers necessarily built fences to control protect their fields and gardens from wandering livestock - their own and others - it was inevitable that the two cultures would clash. Rabroker was one of the first to fence his fields, sparking the anger of local ranchers who periodically cut the wire. Local sources record several instances in which cowboys resorted to violence against Rabroker and John Bockholt for fencing the prairie (Voltin 1993). The day of the open range was fast coming to a close, though, and the arrival of the German farmers signaled the beginning of a new era for western Falls County in which crop cultivation and managed stock raising became the dominant occupation of the land.

Livestock, in particular, played a pivotal role in the German agricultural system and the Westphalians carried on those traditions in Texas. They raised cows, chickens and pigs for meat, milk, and eggs, not only for domestic consumption but for cash and trade. Mules, horses and oxen pulled the farmer's plows and provided transportation. Equally important, the animals supplied manure for fertilizer. Farmers sheltered cows in barns during the winter both to protect them from the cold and to accumulate a good supply of fertilizer for spring planting (Voltin 1994). Some farmers raised livestock almost exclusively. Theodore Rabroker, for instance, made his living by raising hogs and corn, with most of his corn going to feed his livestock (Berres, n.p.). The Joseph Frenzel family (Site No. 101) also concentrated on livestock and eventually managed a large poultry operation from their farm. Other early products included oats, wheat, corn, hay and seed crops, some of which was sold for cash (Voltin 1993). The history of livestock in Westphalia dates to the district's origins when the first families left Frelsburg herding sixty head of cattle before them across the prairie. In addition to their cattle, the early settlers brought mules, oxen, and pigs from Frelsburg (Voltin 1979, 3). Animal husbandry and meat processing have continued to be important Westphalian occupations to the present.


Soon after they secured shelter for themselves, the pioneers addressed their need for a church. Because their Catholic faith formed the group's foundation, the construction of a house of worship was an essential spiritual and symbolic component of the community's continued existence. As soon as the first families joined Rabroker in 1881, they met each Sunday at his homestead for prayer meetings until they could organize a parish. The Rev. John Lauth, C.S.C. of St. Edward's University in Austin, oversaw the parish organization and the celebration of the first Mass on 6 October 1882, at the Rabroker home. From that time onward, the community members gathered at Rabroker's to read and pray, and on the infrequent occasion that a priest traveled to join them, to celebrate mass. The Rabroker house served other quasi-religious functions; the community's first baptism (for Anton Bockholt, on 6 October 1882) and its first weddings (between Adolph Haltnar and Ana Wakely on 25 May 1884), were celebrated in Rabroker's house (Berres n.p.). As the community increased in size, however, the elders recognized that they needed to build a real church.

On 7 December 1882, T. H. Rabroker, J. G. Buckholt (sic), and Caspar Hoelscher paid brothers A. and John Frierson two hundred dollars as a down payment on 100 acres of land to build a church. At the same time, they signed promissory notes for two additional payments of $200 at 10% interest, payable in the following two years. The Frierson brothers held a vendors lien on the property which they conveyed to Louis N. Gallagher, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Texas (Bedford County, Tennessee Deed Records Vol. S-42, in Church of the Visitation State Marker File). The church property lay adjacent to a second 100 acre tract that Caspar Hoelscher bought from the Frierson brothers the same day (Bedford County, Tennessee Deed Records Vol. S-42in Church of the Visitation State Marker File). Hoelscher, Wunsch, Bockholt, Frank Glass and Rabroker each contributed to the purchase (Voltin 1979) which appears to have been purchased for church use. Each farmer dedicated his labor to the common farm, the proceeds of which paid for the construction and maintenance of the church and a school (Berres n.p.). Thus, the Westphalians made substantial personal and financial commitments to their church.

On 28 October 1883 Theodore Rabroker, John Bockholt, Herman Biemer and Frank Glass formed a committee to plan and oversee the construction of a church. Funds were collected and construction commenced by January 1884. The church was sufficiently complete to conduct Mass in the building by 24 February 1884. On 16 May 1884, only three months after its completion, a terrific storm completely demolished the building. The church's destruction was a terrible blow to a community that had sacrificed greatly for its construction. Parishioners immediately reconstructed the building and after two months of work, they dedicated the rebuilt church as the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, on 27 July 1884 (Voltin 1979).

Although the pioneers were almost exclusively farmers, they placed a high premium on education. According to the Falls County School Records, Westphalia hired Stephen Geiser to teach school as early as 1881, in the first year of its existence as a community (St. Romain, 107). Classes were probably conducted in private homes until the completion of the first church. Teacher J. H. Pels assumed teaching duties in the rebuilt church in November 1884, after the harvest (St. Romain, 108; Webb, 888). From that time to the present, Westphalia has supported a school for its young people. Census records reflect the importance the Westphalians placed on education. Virtually every member of the community beyond the age of ten could both read and write, even though quite a number of the older people and the more recent immigrants did not read or write in English. In fact, according to the 1900 census, the only people in the Westphalia district who could not read and write were a single young man listed as an invalid and a few servants not of German heritage (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900). The establishment of the church and school not only provided spiritual and educational nourishment to the parish, they were vital to the group's continued identity as an exclusively German Catholic community.

The group persevered and by 1885, only four years after Bockholt joined his compatriot in the western Falls County settlement, 21 German Catholic families claimed residency in Westphalia (Webb, 888). A decade later, Rabroker's colony increased to 120 families, with nearly 130 students enrolled in the village school (Southern Messenger, 11 April 1895 and 6 September 1894). Throughout most of that period, however, the deeply religious community lacked a permanent pastor to guide the congregation.

On 23 March 1893 the Reverend Michael Heintzelman of La Grange, Texas, was called to Westphalia as its first permanent priest (St. Romain, 108). Heintzelman's assignment aroused:

...great joy in the growing community. For ten years these pioneers had watched their little settlement grow, and for ten years they had battled the elements that they might have a church and a spiritual director to keep alive in their breasts the Faith of their fathers (Beach, 13).

Shortly after starting his pastorate in 1893, the rebuilt church suffered extensive damage from yet another storm. Rather than rehabilitate the damaged building, Heintzelman persuaded the congregation to build a new, larger church to accommodate Westphalia's growing flock, the present Church of the Visitation.

Foundation work on the new church commenced early in 1894 and firms in Temple, Waco, Lott and Cameron competed for Westphalia's patronage by bidding on contracts for hardware supplies and other materials (St. Romain, 108). A quarry in Moldoon, Texas shipped the foundation stone and timber arrived from Waco. According to contemporary diocese sources, missionary Rev. P.M. Simoni, designed the building in the shape of a Latin cross. A. Fuchs, a contractor and builder from Tours, Texas, oversaw the actual construction and B.A. Sokolowski of Bernardo Prairie executed the interior artwork and painting (Southern Messenger 11 April 1895).

While building materials had to be purchased and certain skills contracted out, the parishioners themselves contributed much of the labor to erect the new building. In a single day, they hauled 80 loads of building materials from the nearest railroad at Lott, about eight miles away. Frank Glass and Emmanuel Raabe, two of the earliest settlers, provided their carpenter and wood working skills. The Frank Glass family donated the main altar in the present church (Voltin 1979). When completed in April 1895 the church building cost $8,000. At the time, the Catholic newspaper The Southern Messenger declared the 120' x 55' building, with its 20' by 30' transept and two 80' towers, to be the largest frame church in "this part of the State" (Southern Messenger, 11 April 1895).

According to local tradition, the church was designed so that a traveler could see the twin steeples for a days ride in any direction and know that he was within the parish of Westphalia. This visual link further reinforced the German Catholic presence within a fivemile radius of the church. The distinctive towers are visible from nearly every farmstead in the Westphalia Rural Historic District. A reporter for the newspaper described Westphalia and its citizens at the time of the church construction:

Westphalia is a small village in Falls County and is situated on a commanding prominence, surrounded by the most fertile and charming prairie farms. The principal buildings of this place are the Church, Priest-house, and school which fact evidences strikingly that the thrifty and industrious farmers, who chiefly constitute this parish, are not only intent upon making a comfortable livelihood, but are also desirous of performing their Christian duty towards themselves and their children. There are upwards of one hundred families that belong to the congregation. When we take into consideration that twelve years ago there was no farm in this vicinity, but all open, uncultivated prairie, we must certainly admire the zeal of these good people, for what they have done. In such a brief space of time, for the cause of their religion (Southern Messenger, 6 September 1894).

Through the determination and single-minded goals of its founders, Westphalia had grown from a tenuous pioneer venture to "the largest rural parish in the Galveston diocese" in little more than a decade (St. Romain, 108). Local historians credit Rev. Heintzelman with much of the community's early success. For 36 years, until his death in 1929, Heintzelman guided the parish in both spiritual and secular matters. During his tenure, he led the congregation in numerous building programs including the present Church of the Visitation (1895), Priest house (demolished), Sister house or Convent (St. Mary's High School, 1921), and school (Westphalia Little School, c.1896). The present church- school complex is largely the result of Heintzelman's inspiration and leadership.


Westphalia grew tremendously in the decade since its founding and was included on the official U.S.G.S. map of the Temple area in 1890. By that time, its associated rural population supported several businesses. While the church and school complex was taking shape on the 100 acres dedicated for that purpose, the community's first commercial enterprises appeared on land adjacent to and east of the church property. The main village road that evolved along original property boundaries also separated the church from the commercial space. Stephan Geiser may have opened the community's first place of business, a general merchandise store about this time (St. Romain, 108). In 1890, P.A. Heckman opened a store and post office where he served as both proprietor and postmaster (Webb, 888). The store lay to the north of the present Hoelscher/Thornton Store and was among the first businesses to define a small commercial node on the main village road.

As the community grew and prospered, commercial and service operations, particularly those that supported the stockraising and farming livelihood of the residents, sprang up in the village. In 1890, nearly all of Westphalia's adults engaged in farming as their primary occupation. By 1900, however, the community counted a small but significant number of residents employed in non-agricultural pursuits. Census records report several dry goods stores, a cotton ginning operation, a dressmaker, blacksmith, two carpenters, and a boarding house in Westphalia at the turn of the century (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900). Surnames in the census records indicate that most of Westphalia's trades people and shop keepers were relatives, often the children, of the earlier settlers, rather than outsiders. These merchants and tradesmen tended to own only their homes without any additional acreage, i.e., they were not also farmers. Rather, a small number of second-generation Westphalians had begun to specialize in service occupations or skilled trades. At the same time, a few individuals began to build houses in the village, near their work places. Within a generation of its founding, Westphalia supported three general merchandise stores, a cotton gin, a post office, a drug store, sheetmetal and blacksmith shops, and a doctor (Church of the Visitation State Marker File). Westphalia's oldest surviving commercial building is the Hoelscher-Thornton Store (Site 47), also known as the Johnnie Thornton or the Old Store. Built in 1907, it is a community landmark at the intersection of the main village road and SH 320.


At the turn of the century, Westphalia claimed sufficient population to patronize such businesses. Census tracts for 1900 confirm that Westphalians were prolific and healthy. Large families consisting of five to nine children were standard and the ratio of living children to live births enumerated in the 1900 census indicates that most babies survived well into childhood (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900). Conversely, non-German white families in western Falls County and adjacent Limestone County, had slightly fewer children per mother but greater mortality rates (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900). Reasons for such differences are unknown but it is possible that the Westphalian group enjoyed a better diet than their neighbors. From the earliest period of settlement, local sources indicate that Westphalians varied their diets with fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, bread and different types of meat. Their knowledge of fertilizers ensured productive crops. Although independent, the group shared a sense of communal responsibility that guaranteed its members a minimum standard of welfare. Unrelated families regularly adopted orphans and elderly people within the community. Also, the nearly 100 percent literacy of Westphalian adults may partially account for the general health of the community. Westphalians typically subscribed to several periodicals - sometimes German language papers - covering scientific farming and homemaking techniques, so they kept abreast of innovations in health care and related fields (Beach 1994). Conversely, other non-German white families in the same census district were remarkable for their high rates of illiteracy (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900).

Westphalians prided themselves on their progressive farming methods. During the 50th anniversary celebration in 1933, descendants of the pioneers displayed some of the early farm implements such as home-made walking planters, walking cultivators, Georgia single stock plows and double shovels that were used from 1880 to the turn of the century (Voltin 1979, 2-3). As new farming equipment and techniques became available, however, the German farmers eagerly experimented with them on their farms. Theodore Rabroker explored a variety of new farming techniques and was a pioneer in the use of modern farm machinery in the area. Rabroker foresaw the future of power-driven equipment and devised a rotary-powered turntable and had a power windmill as early as 1895. He was also one of the first in the area to use threshing and grinding machines to replace or augment manual labor (Berres n.p.). They used fertilizers, inoculated their livestock, and held night classes in modern farming and husbandry for adults. By the 1920s, the community considered itself a model of progressive farming (Beach, 7).


Until the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Germany in World War I, the German-American enclave of Westphalia enjoyed the good will of its neighbors in Falls County. What little hostility the transplanted German colony experienced from the larger community was likely a result of their Catholic religion rather than their German heritage (The Southern Messenger 6 December 1894). The community members generally viewed themselves as thrifty, industrious, and devoutly religious citizens of their adopted country (Beach 1933), and they were shocked to learn that other Americans viewed them differently after the United States entered the war. At that time, however, the community remained distinctively German and its residents were easily recognized and associated with the enemy. They had German names and accents and many of the older men wore their beards and clothing in styles that were identified as German. Particularly galling rumors circulated that the Westphalians hoarded food, possibly for use by the enemy. Because they had large families, the Westphalians often stored large quantities of provisions but it was a difficult charge to defend against (Beach 1994).

The community's physical and cultural isolation, partially self-imposed, further alienated Westphalians from its neighbors. Children either attended the local parochial school or went to Catholic boarding schools outside the community. Their common religion bound them to the local church and they rarely married outside the church community. Further, no major highways or railroad spurs passed through the community so the Westphalians had limited outside influence. As a result, they were slow to adopt prevailing American customs and they appeared distinctively foreign to outsiders. By 1915, the second generation had assumed leadership roles in the community but many German traditions, particularly religious and social rituals and food preparation, survived well into the 20th century. It was not uncommon to find second- and third-generation Westphalians who were fluent in German as well as English. Parish minutes and church programs and celebration pamphlets were written in German. In fact, the church conducted services in both German and English for the benefit of the surviving immigrants, until the early 1950s. Most Westphalian families maintained familial ties with German relatives decades after immigrating to the United States. They corresponded with relatives and some even traveled back to the land to visit aged parents or siblings (Beach 1994).

The United States' entry into the war against Germany, created conflicting allegiances for many Westphalians. For instance, John Beach (formerly Bietch) had just returned from a family visit to Bremerhaaven in northern Germany, when Britain and France declared war against his former homeland. All three of his brothers who had remained in Germany died in the war while his son, Mike Beach, was drafted into the United States army to fight against them (Beach 1994). A total of 36 Westphalian men served in the United States armed forces during World War I (Voltin 1979). Despite their contributions of draftees, Westphalians endured the hostility of their neighbors throughout the war. Partially as a result of wartime hostilities, some Westphalians changed their names to more Americanized spellings. Others were more fiercely determined than ever to retain their German heritage (Beach 1994).

INCREASE AND DECLINE: 1920’s - 1930s

Although they were reluctant to adopt many new American customs, Westphalians enthusiastically accepted new agricultural technologies and methods. The post-war period was one of general prosperity for Westphalian farmers, largely due to their eagerness to improve farm productivity and keep abreast of agricultural trends. Cotton became the most important crop and, while Westphalians continued to raise cattle, pigs and chickens, and grow corn, they planted more acreage in the cash crops.

Mechanized farming fueled a major increase in cash crop production, particularly cotton cultivation, at this time. Until then, many area farmers plowed less than a quarter of their approximately 270 acre farms, leaving large tracts unimproved until they were divided among the children. Typically, the Germans did not hire seasonal labor or encourage tenant farming except among family members (Beach 1994). They worked only what the individual family could manage with help from their neighbors for thrashing or hay baling. German women and children worked in the fields alongside men during peak periods in the growing cycle. Family members worked from dawn to dark during such times, baling hay and picking cotton by hand. Because the work required the labor of all family members, local institutions accommodated the agricultural season. For instance, the school year started upon completion of the harvest (Voltin 1994). Not surprisingly, Westphalian farmers readily embraced modern technology and they purchased tractors and harvesting equipment as soon as they were able.

Power vehicles and agricultural tools immediately affected the rural landscape. In addition to easing the work load, power machinery allowed farmers to increase the amount of acreage in cultivation. At the same time, power machinery reduced the amount of work animals needed and, correspondingly, the amount of pasture and hay meadows required to feed them. In addition, because tractors and harvesters enabled farmers to grow much more than what their families and animals consumed, they could put even more land into cash crop cultivation. As a result, farmers plowed up fields formerly reserved for field corn, hay and grazing and leveled fields for cotton, which quickly became the dominant cash crop.

Reliance on cash crops and reduction of animal labor resulted in other changes on both the farm and in the village. Tractor barns and auto garages replaced wagon and buggy sheds. Fewer oxen and mules reduced the barn space required to shelter and dress them. In town, the garage replaced the blacksmith. Increased cash flow gave families greater purchasing power and the local dry goods store stocked current catalogs for ready-made clothing, furniture, household goods and farm equipment. County roads were graveled and improved for vehicular traffic throughout the community giving Westphalians easier access to farmers markets in Temple. Still, before the first all-weather road (SH 320) was built in the late-1930s, the black prairie mud made travel almost impossible after a rain. People traveling to Temple commonly sent a team of mules ahead to pull their car through the mud holes. Others placed shocks of cane hay in the ruts so the car could make it through the mud (Voltin 1979).

Other changes occurred in social arrangements and building patterns. By the 1920s, many of the original settlers had passed their large farms on to their sons and daughters. New households established new farmsteads. Most of the new dwellings built from the 1910s onward reflect typical American trends of the period. As a result, most of the dwellings dating from the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, are bungalows. More construction occurred in the village and bungalows sprang up there, too. Their proliferation reflects the increasing influences of the outside world as improved roads and automobiles gave Westphalians greater opportunities to experience them.

During the 1920s, the county built a public school for the few families who either weren't Catholics or who did not want their children to attend parochial school. The new school building (razed), resembling a hipped roof bungalow, was constructed in the church/school complex. It was the state's first major incursion into Westphalia's educational system. In 1921, the community built a parochial high school (Site No. 90) with rooms for the Sisters of Divine Providence on the second floor. The new school construction is indicative of the prosperity and growth of the community at this time. It may have also been an attempt to retain local control of high school education.

With the exception of a drought in 1926, the majority of Westphalians enjoyed relative prosperity throughout the 1920s. Their shared religious and cultural values continued to sustain the people of Westphalia but cash crops and mechanized farming eased some of the drudgery of rural life. As farmers were able to work more land with less effort, children gained more educational opportunities. Some, like Walter Beach, received higher educations and left their farms altogether.

Reliance on cash crops took its toll when cotton prices crashed during the Great Depression. Westphalians, although cash poor, were spared the grinding poverty of tenant farmers and share-croppers. Many returned to subsistence farming and at least one gin operation went out of business. Federal government programs including Works Progress Administration (WPA) road projects reached even to Westphalia. Funded under the WPA, parishioners volunteered labor, clay and gravel to build the short road connecting the commercial node to the church and school (Voltin 1979). Another WPA program installed "sanitary toilets" - privies with poured concrete tanks - on farms in the district. Several still survive (Huser 1994).

In 1933, during the height of the Great Depression, the Church of the Visitation celebrated its Golden Jubilee, marking the fiftieth anniversary of its founding in Westphalia. Walter Beach's compiled and translated excerpts from the diary of Martin Roessler, an early settler, to trace the history of the community but his own narrative reflected its condition in 1933. Beach described,

a peaceful and progressive little village . . . far enough removed from any large city to prevent its citizens from becoming urban-minded, and yet . . . near enough to three railroads to facilitate the marketing of its annual abundance of farm products" (Beach, 5).

The author further declared that their abundance was due to,

rich black soil which, under the ideal and healthful climatic conditions prevailing at all times, seldom fails to produce a normal or above normal yield . . . [and the] use of the natural gifts of the Lord, . . . the typically conservative, thrifty, and hard-working German families, for the greater part, have become property owners of more or less financial independence (Beach, 5).

At the time of the jubilee, at least six businesses operated in the village: Gausemeier & Fiedler (Groceries and Drugs, Site No. 55); Gottschalk Brothers (cotton gin); Herman Hoelscher (Dry Goods and notions) together with Kleypas Grocery (Site No. 47); Greener's Garage (Site No. 54); Zeig's Shop (Tin work and welding). With the exception, perhaps of Zeig's Shop, these businesses continue to operate in their original locations to the present. The onset of the Depression, however, coincided with major changes in Westphalia. The community boasted its largest population (1,100 people in 212 families) to date in 1927 but by 1931, the numbers had been reduced to 980 people in 204 families. In his memorial booklet written in 1933, Beach explained the decrease as "due to migration to other parts of [the] state because of over-crowded condition of [the] territory embraced by [the] community" (Beach, 13). Certainly by the early 1930s, the original tracts Rabroker acquired from Neyland had been divided again and again for second- and third-generation family members and the influx of later German immigrants.

In 1935, with the aid of a $40,000 Works Progress Administration project, the town of Lott built a new school and gymnasium. The facility offered better opportunities than Westphalia could provide its students and the community negotiated an agreement with the county to carry transfer to Lott by bus (St. Romain, 86). At the same time, the parochial school in Westphalia became a public school. Although the sisters continued to teach and were paid by the State of Texas for their efforts (Westphalia Little School State Marker File), for the first time in its history, secular influences exerted substantial control over Westphalia's educational system.


The greatest challenge to Westphalia's autonomy was also one of the community's greatest triumphs. In 1938 SH 320, the community's first "all weather" road, was completed through Westphalia linking it with the city of Temple to the west and Marlin, the county seat, to the east (Church of the Visitation State Marker File). Until its construction, a trip to Temple, twenty miles away by the gridded county roads, was an all-day affair. If it rained, travelers were forced to stay because it was impossible to drive through the thick mud. The new highway cut across the county roads, reducing the trip to only twelve miles. More important, it made the outside world accessible regardless of the weather. Most Westphalian farmers viewed the road as a godsend and property owners gladly offered the right of way for its construction. Although it gave Westphalian's access to markets and services they couldn't receive before, the highway also ended the isolation that had protected the German Catholic community from outside interference and influence.

At that time, the population of the community rebounded from the decline of the early 1930s to 205 families with 1,088 residents (Church of the Visitation State Marker File; Beach, 13). The temporary increase gave way to decline by the end of the 1940s, with the population dropping to 734 people in 175 families. This trend continued through the 1950s, 1960s so that by 1974, the community declined to only 110 families with 512 members, half the number counted in 1922 (Church of the Visitation State Marker File; Beach, 13).

Correspondingly, many of the businesses that were sustained by a larger population, closed their doors or moved to larger communities beginning in the late 1940s, particularly after World War II. Although the official postal station closed in 1906, mail was collected and distributed from one of the commercial stores until 1947 when the postal service routed mail to Lott. About the same time, Dr. B. A. Jansing who had served the community for more than 30 years, died and the drug store closed its pharmacy. The sheet metal business moved to Hearne where it had better rail connections (Church of the Visitation State Marker File). The decline in local businesses and services forced Westphalian families to patronize stores in Lott, Rosebud and other larger towns in the area. The inconvenience was made easier by the good highway and increased automobile ownership. At the same time, greater mobility to and from the previously cloistered community brought it into much greater contact with the outside world.

A comparison of church records for the years 1937 and 1941 shows the beginning of a decline in Westphalia's parishioners. In 1937, the parish recorded 197 families with 1,025 souls and 650 communicants and 243 pupils. Four years later, records show only 190 families with about 880 souls, including 615 communicants. There was a big change was in school enrollment. Only 177 pupils were registered in 1941, a reduction of 66 students. Over the following decades the numbers slowly declined. High School students took the bus to Lott and by 1978-79 there were only 57 pupils enrolled in the Westphalia School.

Farm size and use changed as well. First generation Westphalians owned and farmed between 200 and 270 acres of land but they were divided into smaller parcels for their many children. Typically, the resultant farms contained between 70 and 100 acres. By the third generation, farmers could not further divide their farms without jeopardizing their viability. It was simply not feasible to separate farms into plots that were incapable of sustaining a family. By the 1930s, farmland in Westphalia was scarce. As a result, many young families had to look elsewhere for new farms. Some married into local families that had available farms. Others began buying nearby properties outside the traditional Westphalia community boundaries. Still others moved out of the community altogether to new German Catholic communities like Rowena, in West Texas. Too, some of the younger Westphalians chose other occupations and moved to Temple, Waco, and other cities.


After World War II, many of Westphalia's young men who saw military service and traveled outside the community chose not to return to farming. Some joined other family members and friends in obtaining jobs in Temple and Waco. Still others left central Texas altogether. By the 1950s and 1960s, a new farming trend developed in which a few farmers leased large tracts of land for production of cash crops, particularly cotton. Few of the older farmers actually sold their farms and today many continue to live on their traditional farmsteads while younger farmers cultivate their fields as part of large-scale operations. While fewer farmers overall are employed in agriculture in Westphalia, many third and fourth Westphalians have returned to the community to raise their families. They work in Temple, Marlin or other towns, but have built new brick homes in Westphalia. In the past decade, school enrollment has increased as a result.

Despite the pressures of modern society, the strong GermanCatholic foundation established by Westphalia's founders and nurtured by their descendants is evident in the tight-knit community today. Nearly all the inhabitants of the village and surrounding farms are descendants of pioneer settlers who settled on the land before the turn of the century. It is a place in which everyone knows everyone else. There is a pervasive sense that each resident's welfare is the concern of the whole community. The families whose histories are intricately entwined with one another work together, pray together and recreate together. Although the Westphalia Little School discontinued classes in 1989, a new modern brick school building holds kindergarten through eighth grade classes today. The church remains the center of all social and community activities. In addition, Westphalia supports a dance hall, a baseball field, and an annual Community Homecoming celebration. Businesses that remain in operation include two grocery stores, a meat market, a cotton gin, trucking firm, fertilizer and grain outfits, and two land cleaning and conservation services. The Volunteer Fire Department has two trucks and a wealth of volunteers. Today, as when it was founded, farming is the main focus of the community which supports an active Young Farmers Organization. Ironically, few of the young families in Westphalia engage in farming as their primary occupation. While the large farms of the original settlers were divided for successive generations of their descendants, today many of the small farms have been combined into larger parcels which are farmed by a handful of families. And, while the number of farm families declined sharply from its peak in the 1920s and early 1930s, the cause may be due to the lack of available farmland rather than lack of interest.



The significant historic building and agricultural patterns that set Westphalia apart from the surrounding rural landscape of western Falls County are perhaps best explained by an analysis of their functional components and phased development over time. Westphalia's pioneer phase started with its founding in 1879 and involved surveying property boundaries, erecting shelters and plowing the unbroken prairie. During the second phase, lasting from about 1882 until about 1890, pioneer settlers established many of the historic rural building and landscape patterns that characterize the community to this day. Between about 1890 and 1920, most of the district's core farmsteads were well-established and community attention turned to building the church/school complex, enlarging the village and sectioning off new farms from the original ones for second- generation Westphalians. Progressive farming, motorized equipment and an emphasis on cotton cultivation characterized the period from about 1920 through the 1930s when auto garages and tractor barns replaced buggy sheds and blacksmith shops. Completion of the community's first all- weather road, SH 320, in 1938, profoundly altered historic transportation routes and ultimately, economic and social traditions in the community. After World War II, Westphalia's population dwindled and little new construction took place until the 1970s when families began moving back into the district. Since the mid-1970s, a resurgence of construction including new brick houses and metal manufactured storage buildings has occurred along the country roads and in the church subdivision. Intensive cotton cultivation has altered the appearance of the appearance of traditional farms by the removal of fences, swales, timber stands and pasture and by leveling the natural pitch of the landscape. However, many of the rural patterns established in the 1880s and continued throughout the period of significance, remain intact in the core community of farms surrounding the church and village. They provide the common thread that links the community visually to its historic agricultural roots.


For the first several years following Theodore Rabroker's arrival in 1879, the pioneers who followed him to the unbroken prairie surveyed their adjacent 270-acre farms, cut rudimentary field roads, built simple shelters for their families and livestock, and engaged in subsistence farming. This pattern continued as new settlers arrived in the vicinity and purchased acreage adjoining the core farmsteads. Thus, for some of the later arrivals this process occurred as late as 1900. By that time, patterns were well-established and few families had to start out wholly on their own.

The farms offered to the pioneers consisted of rectangular parcels containing between 100- and 270-acres apiece. Westphalians typically purchased the largest farms they could afford, so the majority of the first farms tended to be 270-acre parcels. Surveyed parcels appeared as rectangular plots, one abutting another, within the larger, rectangular patents. Individual farm boundaries appear to have been arbitrary but consistent, with little or no allowances made for natural land forms such as creeks or hills. Rabroker's farm served as the base property and subsequent farms abutted his in a consistent, gridlike fashion. John and Theresia Bockholt's 270-acre farm, was plotted adjacent to Rabroker's property on the northeast. Subsequent farms formed on the survey lines of these original parcels, spreading outward in all directions. Thus, the rectangular grid was the first pattern established by the pioneers. It remains highly evident today as the county roads throughout the district follow the original property boundaries.

The earliest pioneers including the Rabrokers and the John and Theresia Bockholt family merely camped on the open prairie in their covered wagons, sometimes for several years, before building even a small dwelling. The pioneers' main priority appeared to be establishing their farms and because nearly all brought livestock with them from Frelsburg, they undoubtedly erected some type of shelter for the animals as soon as possible. Within a year or two, the pioneers built two-room houses for their families. Some families in the area, including the Kahligs (Site No. 72), built two-room log houses. The earliest dwellings were generally rude shelters that later served for storage or other purposes and ultimately abandoned. No log houses are known to survive in the district but several two- room side-gabled frame houses remain (Site Nos. 84 and 103). Some original buildings may be incorporated into current dwellings or outbuildings. The Bockholt's original two-room shelter served the farm as a blacksmith shop and later as storage until a storm destroyed it about 1978.

Little else is known about the construction methods and cultivation patterns of the first pioneers "probably because every man had his own to build, his soil to till, and his family to provide for" (Beach, 8). According to all accounts, though, the farmers immediately put plough to the soil and began farming to feed their families and livestock. Most likely each farmer plowed as many rows of corn and small grains as he and his family could manage close to the dwelling.


Within about five years of their arrival in the community, Westphalia's pioneer families enlarged or replaced their rude two-room dwellings and created a building complex of substantial outbuildings that became the basis for virtually all of the district's extant historic farmsteads. During this phase they also established the landscape patterns that today define the district's recognizable rural identity. They cultivated fields, planted orchards, laid fence lines, dug stock ponds, and reinforced the major parcel boundary roads that remain the principal transportation routes through the district. They also selected a church site and purchased an additional farm to provide for the construction and maintenance of a church and cemetery. This formed the basis of the present village. As new arrivals joined the pioneers, they followed the established agricultural landscape and building patterns by which the community is now identified. Further, the model defined the substance and relationship of the district's two principal components -- the church complex, which formed the basis for the village, and the surrounding farmsteads.

By 1882, 13 farms clustered around Rabroker's original parcel. Early in the community's evolution, farmers defined their property lines with paths that became the main roads from one farm to another. Typically, each farm family built a hard-packed dirt road leading from the nearest main road to the front entry of their dwelling. The dwelling, a 1- or 1-1/2 story frame house with a porch, was the focal point of a building complex with agricultural buildings lying behind or across the drive from it. Nearly all dwellings were sited to retain sweeping views of the countryside unobstructed by agricultural buildings. Farmers usually reserved the highest spot of land nearest the center of their property to take advantage of breezes and reduce the possibility of flooding or damage by standing water or marshy ground. Good drainage was imperative on the blackland prairie. Settlers who built their first shelters alongside area creeks, later constructed their permanent dwelling and farm buildings on higher ground due to mud, marshy conditions and danger of flooding. A second important factor in siting the building complex involved its relationship to the fields. In an era of animal-powered vehicles and plows, farmers tried to construct their buildings mid-way between fields to reduce distances whenever possible. Rarely were dwellings and barns sited at the farthest reaches of the farm. An ideal location, mid- way between fields, offered the farmer quickest access to all of his fields.

A typical farm building complex of this period included the dwelling and its related buildings and structures, and the barn and its related buildings and structures. In general, the driveway or field road separated the sections. Farmers built picket or wire fences around the primary dwelling and its yard, an area of about 90' by 100'. Flower and vegetable gardens grew inside the protected yard area. Cisterns, root cellars, smoke houses and hot water or wash houses, and sometimes privies, also occupied space in the yard. Storage garages for tools and equipment sometimes lay near the dwelling. The barnyard area contained shelters for horses, cows, pigs and brooders for baby chicks, as well as implement barns and storage facilities. Farmers constructed buggy sheds to shelter their vehicles and sometimes maintained their own blacksmith shops in this area. Nearly all buildings of this period were of frame construction with wood-shingled roofs.

While some farms maintained gardens within the yard, others had large, fenced vegetable gardens outside the yard but near the house. Farms of this period also planted large orchards near the building complex because that area usually had the best drainage. All of the buildings and the were within easy walking distance from the houses since family members visited most of the buildings several times each day (Voltin 1994). The complex was compact, usually containing fewer than two or three acres, so that the bulk of the property could be devoted to agriculture.

Although cotton was fast becoming an important crop on the blackland prairie, most of the Westphalian farmers during this period grew corn and raised livestock. They divided their acreage to provide grazing land for their cattle, natural hay meadows, and cultivated fields for crops. Unlike the gridlike demarcations of the larger property boundaries, fields, meadows and grazing land tended to follow natural design. Large expanses of generally flat land were ideal for plowing while sloping or hilly land was left for grazing. Farmers retained four or five acres of natural prairie grass meadows for hay. Timber stands along creek beds were valuable for fire wood and farmers of this period did not cut trees to put more land into cultivation.

As early as 1884, only a year after barbed wire was introduced in Texas, the Westphalians built barbed wire and cedar post fencing to delineate property boundaries and protect their crops from cattle. They also built fences along creek beds and standing water to keep cattle and horses from polluting the water. Water was often scarce and farmers dug stock ponds and wells as well as underground cisterns to capture ground water, to provide for their livestock and families.

At the same time Westphalians began shaping their farmsteads, they also established the basis for the village of Westphalia. On 7 December 1882 Rabroker, Bockholt and Casper Hoelscher purchased a 100-acre parcel of land adjacent to Hoelscher's farm for a church and school. In addition to the church site, they purchased a second 100- acre parcel to farm its construction and maintenance. Like their own building complexes, the Westphalians chose an elevated site on which to build their first frame church, in 1884.


Over the following several decades, from about 1890 to 1920, the village increased substantially with the construction of the Church of the Visitation in 1894, several schools including the Westphalia Little School in 1896, a rectory and parish hall, and the first commercial buildings and non-farm dwellings. The community supported a doctor, several merchants, a milliner and a post office.

Changes occurred on the farmsteads, as well. Cotton emerged as an important cash crop during this period and more agricultural acreage was devoted to its cultivation. Individuals constructed the community's first gin and it was followed by several others in the immediate vicinity. New technologies came into use in the community and windmills dotted the landscape. At the same time, livestock of all kinds increased and individual farmers began to sell their surplus crops and meat, both in the village and in the markets of Temple and Lott. By this time, many of the first- generation farmers divided their original 270-acre parcels into smaller farms for their children. Although the major roadways remained unchanged, new fence lines and cultivation patterns, as well as new building complexes, appeared on the landscape.


Cotton increasingly dominated farm production in the 1920s and 1930s. The greatest boon to its production, as well as nearly every other aspect of rural life in Westphalia, was the advent of mechanized farming equipment. Trucks and tractors reshaped the landscape and habits of the community. Gas-powered vehicles and equipment supplanted field animals and horses for labor and transportation, thus reducing the amount of acreage needed for grazing and feed production. They allowed farmers to level sloping fields for more efficient and intensive cultivation, thereby reducing former grazing land and eliminating more vacant land, hay meadows and timber stands. Power equipment also meant that fewer people were required to farm larger parcels of land. Not surprisingly, Westphalians eagerly embraced new technologies and the community generally flourished during the 1920s.

During this period, the community reached its peak, both in population and size. The "boundaries" of the extended German Catholic community embraced nearly 25 square miles and extended into Bell and Milam counties. As new generations came of age to start their own farms, families found it untenable to further divide the now 70- to 80-acre farms into smaller pieces. The younger farmers built new farm building complexes, resembling in form and layout those of their parents and grandparents. They replicated the agricultural patterns of their predecessors, as well. New pastures, cultivated cotton and corn fields, hay meadows and patches were plotted and fenced for new generation of farmers.

Beginning in the 1930s, and continuing through the post- World War II era, grandchildren and great-grandchildren or the pioneers either moved to new farming communities further west or took jobs in the cities. As a result, Westphalia's historic farm parcels survive as 70to 80-acre second- generation tracts, to a large degree.

One of the most notable landscape changes that occurred during this period was the construction of SH 320, the community's first "all weather" road. Completion of the highway, in 1938, opened many new opportunities for the farmers who remained in Westphalia. At the same time, it led to the demise of the village as the community's principal center of commerce because residents could easily travel to Temple, only fifteen miles away to do their shopping and service errands. Ease of travel outside the community led to some dilution of traditional community lifeways. The highway, which immediately became the community's primary arterial, also altered historic transportation patterns and spatial relationships, particularly within the village. Due to its profound effect on the community, the 1938 completion date is significant one in Westphalia's evolution.


Today, after a period of decline spanning the 1950s through the early 1970s, many families have moved back to Westphalia, primarily to raise their children or live out their retirement years. So many have moved back into the community that the Westphalia School District has increased enrollment over the past decade. The traditional school boundaries define the largest concentration of historic Westphalia farmsteads. Families cite the lack of crime, traditional values and enjoyment of the rural lifestyle among their reasons for returning home. Most of the young families live in new brick houses built on parceled lots on their parents' or grandparents' property. Typically, these lots lie directly on the county roads and contain only a few outbuildings, such as a garage. Workers commute to Temple, Waco, or Marlin, the county seat. Few, if any, of the returnees engage in farming. In fact, only a handful of Westphalians continue to farm today although most of the land within the Westphalia Rural Historic District is under cultivation. Modern conditions require that a few farmers with extensive equipment to work several farms to sustain themselves and their families. They manage by leasing the farms of their friends and neighbors. Today Westphalia is a thriving rural community whose historic landscape endures despite modern challenges. Its historic rural patterns are preserved in the farmsteads and village properties that comprise the core of the German Catholic community.


A typical historic building complex consists of a one or one-and-a-half story frame farm house and several agricultural buildings including barns, storage sheds, garages and animal shelters. Many of the residences have additions on the rear portion regardless of age or plan type. Primary facades generally retain their original appearance but several (Site Nos. 37 and 102) have screened in their front porches. At least four farm houses and one village house appear to date from about 1890 and appear similar in plan and appearance. The central hall dwellings typically are side-gabled with two or three small gabled or hipped roof dormers punctuating the roof. Examples in the district include the G. P. Hoelscher Farmstead (Site No. 99), the Joseph Kahlig Farmstead (Site No. 72), the Anton Jansing Farmstead (Site No. 66), the Christopher Fuchs Farmstead (Site No. 41) and the Millie Hoelscher House (Site No. 84). In addition to central passage dwellings, the district contains several T-plan and L-plan houses, and many bungalows. In fact, nearly all of the center-passage dwellings contain T- or L-shaped additions to the rear.

A very few farms had resident tenants. Ray Hoelscher's farm (Site No. 37) contains a tenant house down the hill from the main house. Both oral accounts and census records indicate that children often farmed as tenants on their parents' farms until they could buy land of their own. Hoelscher worked as a tenant and lived in the small house on his father's farm until he acquired the family farm (Hoelscher 1993). The Christopher Fuchs farmstead (Site No. 41) also contains an old two-room house that may have served as a tenant house. It lies mid-way between SH 320 and the main building complex.

Independent Germans traditionally identified and secured their property with fences. Today virtually all property boundaries are marked with fencing of some type. Pastures, creeks and plots were also fenced because nearly every family owned livestock that had to be controlled. Historic properties generally display fences of barbed wire and cedar posts. The Westphalians were the first to install barbed wire fences in western Falls County and the practice was not appreciated by local ranchers. Irate ranchers roped Theodore Rabroker off his front porch and dragged him nearly to death before cutting him loose. Ranchers lost the war, however and today it is rare to see an unfenced piece of property. After a few years, seeds deposited by birds and animals brought forth trees and bushes. As years passed, grapevines and dewberry bushes began to flourish along these dividing lines. In the spring and summer, youngsters spent hours harvesting dewberries for jam and jellies and made pies. Late in the season, they scoured the fence rows for grapes for jellies and juice. These natural gifts provided meals for families during the winter months (Voltin 1994).

Nearly all historic domestic yards are fenced. Although partly for ornamentation, the fences also served to keep free-ranging fowl from eating vegetables and flowers in the yard. Even if the domestic yard is open, the vegetable is sure to be fenced for protection. Common yard fences in the district include picket, cast iron and looped wire although some owners have installed chain link fences around historic properties.

Historic properties contain extensive vegetable and flower s. Irises and daffodils are popular and plentiful. Old rose bushes are less plentiful but continue to grow untended on some of the abandoned farmsteads. In some cases foundations of demolished houses are defined by surviving clumps of irises or rose bushes. Baseball-sized fossilized shells culled from limestone outcroppings along Pond Creed define several flower beds and walkways in the district. Landscape designs can be rather formal with entry might have trees of same type and size equidistant from front door. The G. P. Hoelscher farmstead (Site No. 99) contains such a formal design with identical holly bushes flanking the front porch, followed by crepe myrtles at each corner and pecan trees spaced at each corner of the front yard.

All Westphalian farm families grew large vegetable gardens and this tradition endures in the district. Each spring families purchased an ample supply of seeds. Some saved seeds from prior years s. Early plantings of onions, cabbage, greens, and potatoes were followed by beets, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. When the produce could not be readily consumed, the excess was canned or pickled. Most of the cabbage became sauerkraut, a German favorite. If a family didn't have a cellar, the potato crop was harvested and placed underneath the houses which were on piers. The potatoes stayed cool and ventilated to prevent spoilage (Voltin 1994).

Agricultural buildings in the complex typically include storage buildings and shelters for animals, vehicles and implements. Barnyards often contained several animal and hay barns, sheds, corn cribs, pig and cow pens, pig and cow houses, a hen house or chicken coop and brooder. All contain tractor and automobile garages. Some outmoded farm buildings have been removed or replaced but others survive, usually in a different capacity. An old buggy barn survives on the Kahlig farm (Site No. 72). Long after the demise of the buggy, Kahlig's father stored cotton in the barn (Voltin 1994). Today it serves as general storage. Like historic dwellings in Westphalia, virtually all historic outbuildings were originally frame, although some used metal roofing materials. Some newer outbuildings, particularly grain storage containers, may be metal. Some root cellars or spring houses, below-ground enclosures made of brick or stone, remain in use while others, like that of the Bockholt- Lingnau farm (Site No. 42), have been converted to other uses.

Nearly all Westphalian farms raised a variety of livestock for food, particularly hogs, chickens and cattle and provided special shelter for them. Although chickens were the predominate foul, some farmers raised turkeys and guineas also. Each family had between 100 and 250 laying hens. This supplied an ample supply of eggs for family use such as baking and with some left over to sell. The eggs were taken to the grocery store to pay for staples such as flour, sugar and coffee. The laying hens were bought as baby chicks supplied by a local hatchery. Each farmer had chicken houses, to shelter the chickens at night, and a smaller building a brooder house to house baby chicks. The pullets were kept for laying hens while the roosters provided many Sunday dinners of fried chicken or chicken and dumplings. Chickens were able to roam as they pleased during the day. This cut down on feed supply needed (Voltin 1994).

The barns held corn, hay and other feed supplies for the horses, cattle, hogs, and fowl. It also provided shelter for the cattle and horses. The horses and mules were the primary work animals. Sometimes horses were ridden for entertainment. Most of the cattle were kept to supply milk for the family and they were milked in their pens both morning and night. The cows provided milk, cream for butter and cash sales, and cottage cheese which was on the diet of most Germans each day. Cattle were mainly kept in barns only during the cold winter months. This supplied an ample supply of manure which farmers used as fertilizer for their spring crops (Voltin 1994). In Germany the farm animals were housed on the first floor of the house while the family occupied the upper floor but Westphalians practiced standard American methods in this regard (Voltin 1994).

Pigs stayed in low pens or pig houses with a short, fenced yard and a sloping roof. Most German farm families butchered and processed their own meat supply. This time usually brought families and neighbors to help. After stuffing sausage, processing the lard, and getting hams and bacon ready for curing, each family that helped went with some sausage and fresh hog meat as a "thank you" for the help (Voltin 1994).

In addition to shelter and storage barns and sheds, typical farms contain specialty buildings such as smoke houses and hot water or wash houses. Before Westphalians had indoor plumbing and hot running water, they built separate hot water houses for laundry and special purposes such as killing hogs. One day each week was a general wash day for each family and Westphalians typically had very large families. This warranted a special "wash houses" where washing machines, wash boards, tubs, and other laundry items were stored. Generally the hot water houses lie in or very near the domestic yard, behind the primary dwelling. Since water had to be heated in a cast iron wash pot, some families placed the wash pot, encased in concrete or mortared brick forms, inside the wash house as a convenience. Some built cast iron or copper pots right into the brick fireplace above the firebox. Since wash day came each week regardless of the weather, this provided a little more comfort to the one doing the job. Each farm had an adequate supply of wood, corncobs, and kerosene to heat the water. A constant necessity was the wash line - a heavy wire strung between two posts. Sometimes large-member families ran out of clotheslines and many overalls and other wearing clothes dried on the wire yard fences (Voltin 1994). Several sites still contain hot water houses including the G.P. Hoelscher farm (Site No. 99).

Smoke houses stood outside most farm houses in Westphalia. They were usually built directly on the ground so that a small smoldering fire could be started on the dirt to smoke all pork and some beef products. Since each family raised hogs, several were slaughtered and processed each year. The smoking process gave a means of preserving the meat for future use. The sausage, hams and bacon were all hung in the smoke house and were cured by the wood fire. Women rendered and stored lard in the smoke house. After the German families smoked their sausage they stacked layers of rendered lard and smoked sausage, repeating the layering, until a large crock was filled. By this method, the sausage was well-preserved and many farm youngsters packed a lunch pail of this sausage and made bread for school each day (Voltin 1994).

Some families dug cellars to store canned fruits and vegetables. Since the cellars were cool, many people kept their milk there before refrigeration. Some Germans brought the custom of brewing beer and making wine with them when they came to America and cellars were an ideal place for storing their brews (Voltin 1994).

Of course, all farms had outdoor privies. Today, although they now have indoor plumbing, many privies remain in the barnyards and behind the domestic yards of Westphalian building complexes. Virtually all are frame "one- holers" but several "sanitary toilets" installed by the Works Progress Administration during the 1930s survive.

All older farms have cisterns and/or wells. Village properties had wells, too. An extant well, with the date "1911" inscribed in the concrete sheathing, stands next to the church. The house (Site No. 84) across the street also has a well in the yard. Many of the farms in the Westphalia district contain underground cisterns for collecting rain water off the house roofs. This was necessary because deep wells usually contained warm mineral water unsuitable for household use. Some underground cisterns such as those on the Ervin Kahlig, Wilde-Gottschalk and Christopher Fuchs farms, stand on or near the back porch of the house (Voltin 1994). Ervin Kahlig's 30' cistern remains in use today. Many farmers dug shallow water wells which were only useful during periods of adequate rainfall due to the low water table. If the farm didn't have an underground cellar the wells provided a cooling place for milk before refrigeration was available (Voltin 1994). Only shallow wells with underground springs or seeps at depths of 15 to 25 feet could supply needed water. Many farmers depended on these spring fed wells during drought seasons. During a drought in 1926, only a few of these shallow wells were able to provide water for many. Many farm families depended on their neighbor farmers for water as not everyone had spring water. Almost everyone had a water wagon which was a basic flat-bed trailer pulled by horses or tractors containing 100 gallon cisterns or 55 gallon barrels to hold water. This supply provided family water for drinking food preparation, bathing and washing clothes and sometimes water for farm animals. Some farms have 1,000 gallon cisterns to catch water from the house roof. This was another source of water for household use.

Since farmers depended on surface water for much of their needs, establishing stock ponds were very important. In the beginning, ponds were dug by spade and shovel, and later by horses or mules pulling a frenzo (fresno) -- a blade-like scoop used to dig out a layer of soil and deposit it to create a dam. Rainwater and runoff filled the pond (Voltin 1994). According to John Lingnau, farmers worked on the stock pond whenever they got caught up on their farm work, "Everybody got a scraper and a team and would go down and dig a tank, dig a hole, dig it bigger. . . Every chance they'd go down there and scrape. They called it running the scraper. It was [water] storage for whole cattle -- horses and all the livestock." (Voltin 1979)

The primary purpose of the farm pond was to provide water for horses mules and cattle. Since early farm houses did not have many bathroom facilities, farm ponds provided bathing and swimming experiences for many farm youngsters. All during the summer months, after working the fields all day most people got a daily bath in the ponds. Most learned the "dog paddle" method of swimming in the family farm "pool". Neighborhood boys enjoyed "skinny dipping" many late evenings (Voltin 1994). During the migratory seasons, ducks and geese sometimes landed on the ponds where farmers lay in wait for them to further vary their food supply. They often stocked their ponds with catfish to supplement their diets (Beach 1994).

In addition to the stock ponds, farmers dedicated a few acres out of their farms, usually near creek beds, for timber lots and reserved 4 to 6 acres hay meadows. Farmers often planted orchards close to the building complex because it usually contained the best drainage (Beach 1994).

Throughout most of the history of Westphalia, the entire community has been focused on securing and improving its family farms. In fact, all the institutions of the community accommodated the agricultural lifestyle. The school year usually began in October to enable the youngsters time to help with the crop harvest (Voltin 1994). German children provided the work force for the family. Cotton was the cash crop. All harvesting was done by the hands of the family members. After a wagon load of cotton was picked, it was taken to the gin to be ginned. This was usually the task of the father. The children remained in the field to pick more cotton for the next bale. The reward for their work was usually fresh apples and crackers purchased by father on his way from the gin. The sons drove the horse-drawn machinery to plant and plow the crops.

Cotton remains a principal crop in Westphalia, although only a few commercial farmers cultivate it. Still, the rural traditions established in the late 19th century remain firmly entrenched in the community customs and values and are evident in its rural historic landscape. The following properties are selected as representative examples of farmsteads and agricultural patterns in the Westphalia Rural Historic District. Not all contain every aspect of the area's rural historic landscape but each retains significant Contributing elements that help define the district's character.


One of the pervasive themes of this rural landscape is its evolving nature. The Bockholt-Lingnau Farmstead is both a representative property within the district and an illustrative example of a farmstead that has changed over time while retaining historic significance.

An analysis of the Bockholt-Lingnau Farmstead (Site No. 42) offers additional insight into the evolution of Westphalia's historic landscape. Straddling SH 320, southeast of the village center, the first generation farmstead shares landscape elements common to many of the historic farmsteads in the district. The farm typifies the evolutionary process that began with the first generation farmsteads and persisted throughout Westphalia's historic period of significance.

The Bockholt-Lingnau Farmstead lies at the center of the Westphalia Historic District roughly one and one-half miles southeast of the village. Historical research conducted by Raye Virginia Allen in 1978 traced land titles to the present and revealed clues about the farmstead's development from 1881 to the present. The property's evolution is typical of many first generation farmsteads in the Westphalia community and is a useful prototype for understanding its cultural environment. The Bockholt- Lingnau Farmstead is sited at an elevation about 570 feet above sea level, just southeast of the centerpoint to a 270- acre tract of land acquired by Johann and Theresia Bockholt in 1881. The Bockholts followed Theodore Rabroker to Westphalia and were the second settlers in the community. Their land adjoins Rabroker's original farmstead on the northeast.

Like nearly all the original parcels, the Bockholt's original 270-acre farm was rectangular in shape. As soon as he arrived on the land, John Bockholt surveyed and marked his property boundaries. For the first year, the Bockholt family lived in their covered wagon on the open prairie. According to John Lingnau, grandson of John Bockholt, "they stayed in the wagon . . . there was no (other) place . . they just staked them off some land. It was for sale. . . . Some of them lived a year or two in the covered wagons until they got their residences built or shack or house . . . got started." (Voltin 1979).

Bockholt immediately built a small shed to augment living quarters in the wagon. As soon as he was able, Bockholt chose an elevated portion of his farm to construct a cabin. The cabin site developed into the building complex that exists today. The original house (c.1881) was a simple two-room, side-gabled wooden frame dwelling containing a bedroom and an attached kitchen, with a second sleeping area in a loft above the kitchen. The downstairs bedroom measured about 12' square and the kitchen added another 8' to the length. A front door opened entered directly into the bedroom which faced east. The kitchen, at the rear of the house, had its own exit to the outside, on the west. Although a temporary affair, Bockholt cut four windows in the bedroom and two in the kitchen (Voltin 1979). The dwelling's interior spaces served multiple functions, with dining, sleeping and meeting occurring in the same room.

After a few years, Bockholt moved the cabin, as it was called. It served as a blacksmith shop for many years. Its replacement (c.1883) was a 2-story, center-passage dwelling that began to segregate interior uses more rigidly. By about 1885 a rear addition was added providing more opportunity for segregated uses. The completed house formed a T-plan, with the c.1883 center-passage dwelling as the "top of the T" and the c.1885 addition making the "tail". According to John Lingnau, Westphalians favored T-plan houses because they believed they could withstand higher winds than other houses.

During this period a building complex took shape that remained intact for many decades. Domestic space included the primary dwelling and auxiliary buildings, structures and spaces related to domestic function. For the Bockholt- Lingnau Farmstead, the domestic space is approximately ninety by one hundred feet with an average distance of eighteen to thirty feet from the primary building to the perimeter. A wooden picket fence originally encircled the space which contained a , ornamental flowers, and access to the wash house, cellar, smoke house and privy. Area farmsteads typically fenced or partially domestic yards with looped wire, cast iron or wood pickets. Much of the food preparation, laundry, gardening and other household chores took place in this space. Primarily supervised by women, these domestic endeavors often embodied more of the traditional German folkways than activities conducted elsewhere on the farm. Separated from the domestic space by a field road were the agricultural buildings and work space which included cow sheds and pens, a horse barn, buggy sheds, a blacksmith shop, and pig pens and houses. Horses were kept in a large barn, each in its own separate stall. Auxiliary buildings on the Lingnau-Buckholt Farmstead underwent a similar evolution. For example, the first house transformed into a blacksmith work area and storage space and the root cellar became a garage. These, much like the primary dwelling, underwent an evolution over time in order to adjust to prevailing cultural mores and/or technological advancements.

The Bockholt's organized their land by use, allocating most of their acreage for cultivation of crops, the second largest portion for cattle pasture, and the remaining for domestic space, circulation networks, and area transportation routes. They dug stock ponds in the cow pasture to water their livestock and built fences along the creek bed to keep the animals out.

After John Bockholts' death, three of his children divided the land equally. Mary Katherine, the Bockholt's only daughter, inherited "the place" which included the original building complex and adjacent one hundred acres. Mary Katherine and her husband Bruno Lingnau continued to work her father's farmstead and it eventually passed to their son, John and his wife Helen. Bockholt sons established building complexes of their own on their smaller farms, somewhat like satellites of the parent farmstead. Once divided, the property followed similar land use patterns although the total acreage was greatly reduced. Cultivation of cotton occupied the majority of the land use with cattle pasture comprising the second greatest area. Domestic and agricultural space occupied roughly the same area but transportation and circulation routes took less.

The primary dwelling dominates the domestic space and farmstead as a whole. In the example of the Bockholt- Lingnau House, the 1-1/2-story dwelling served as a focal point for the farmstead. It also received better siding, windows, doors, paint, ornamentation, and in general, reflected the preferred image of the family. Most folklorists believe that house forms reflect cultural mores over a long period of time and with a large geographic dispersion. These mores may respond to the climate, prevailing winds, or some other overriding cultural trend. This appears to be true in the Bockholt-Lingnau House. Since the introduction of SH 320, planned in 1936 and completed in 1938, alterations have been made to the orient the house to address the new principal road. This is true of several farms whose dwellings are visible from the state highway. Other posthistoric period changes include replacement of several old barns, the addition of the Song House and a new garage, and the removal of fences and ornamental flowers to facilitate mowing machines. Nevertheless, the original farmstead retains sufficient historic integrity in both rural landscape and architectural characteristics to be a contributing feature of the rural historic district. Its associated property retains its original hilltop siting, graveled drive, corn fields, pasturage, and tree-shaded stock pond, in addition to extensive cotton fields. Unlike many Westphalia cotton farms that have been completely leveled, the Bockholt- Lingnau fields retain a slightly undulating slope, reflecting the natural land form of the region as well as historic trends pre-dating bulldozers.


The following properties illustrate significant trends in the development of Westphalia's rural historic landscape.

The Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Site No. 91.

The parish church historically provided the physical and cultural focus of this community, occupying a 100-acre tract at the heart of Westphalia. The initial German Catholic settlers built their first church atop one of the highest points in the area. Its visibility helped establish the boundaries of the community, traditionally defined as farmsteads within five miles of the church. The religious complex also eventually encompassed several schools, a rectory, a convent, a parish hall and a cemetery. Although modern buildings replaced the parish hall, public school and rectory, surviving historic buildings include the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, the Westphalia Little School, St. Mary's Cemetery, and the convent.

A storm destroyed Westphalia's initial church within three months of its completion in 1884. Another severe storm damaged its replacement in 1893. The parish's first permanent pastor, Reverend Michael Heintzelman, encouraged the congregation to meet the needs of the growing population by building a new church rather than repairing the damaged one. Records indicate that the Westphalia Little School may incorporates the ruins of this second edifice.

The parish began work on the new church in 1894, completing it the following year. Missionary Reverend P.M. Simoni designed the building on a Latin cross plan. In addition to contributing funds for the undertaking, parishioners provided much of the labor. They hauled 80 loads of building materials from the railroad depot at Lott in a single day, including foundation stone shipped from Moldoon and timber from Waco. A contractor from Tours, Texas, A. Fuchs oversaw the work of locals such as experienced wood workers Frank Glass and Emmanuel Raabe. Artist B.A. Sokolowski of Bernardo Prairie, Texas, designed and executed interior decoration incorporating images of angels, stars, comets and the moon painted on the ceiling. Members of the congregation also commissioned stained glass windows, some of which bear their names. The completed church cost about $8,000, a considerable sum for a community of farmers. It received publicity as the largest frame church in "this part of the state" upon its completion (Southern Messenger, 1895).

With a symmetrical facade dominated by twin bell towers, the new church reflected the traditional designs for Catholic churches in the Westphalia region of Germany. While modest by German standards, the Church of the Visitation exhibits the traditional construction methods and design features of the German Catholic homeland. Similarly, the church's position at the heart of the village represents the endurance of cultural traditions in the new community on Texas' blackland prairie. Churches customarily dominated Westphalian villages, with all roads leading to a kirche platz at the center of the community. The Church of the Visitation occupies a similar position in this village.

The church measures 120' by 55', with a 20' by 30' transept and two 80' bell towers. Depite the application of asbestos shingles and perma-stone sheathing, it retains the historic form and architectural detailing originally crafted by the parishioners. Ornamentation includes Gothic windows, fishscale shingles, and twin towers surmounted by copper clad domes and Maltese crosses. Recent restoration efforts returned the historic paint scheme of distinctive blue and white folk patterns seen in early photographs of the church.

To the west of the church lies the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes (Site No. 91b) built by Anton Fuchs in 1945. The rock altar commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary at the grotto in Lourdes, France. Devotees participate in a candle-lit procession to the grotto during the months of May and October, which the Catholic faith dedicates to the Virgin Mary. The final historic element associated with the church consists of a concrete lined cistern (Site No. 91c), a remnant of the community's rural water supply.

St. Mary's Cemetery Site No. 79.

Occupying a slightly sloping hill within the original 100-acre church tract, St. Mary's cemetery also reveals the community's German heritage. The swept cemetery incorporates gravel paths between family plots surrounded by low concrete curbs. Most graves are kept neatly graveled and free of weeds, although grass covers a few. Headstones all face the church on the east. Most older monuments feature inscriptions in German topped by the Maltese cross, a typical German symbol. The resultant image of row upon row of regimented grave stones topped with crosses creates visual continuity with the Maltese crosses surmounting the church. A bronze statue depicting Jesus Christ on the cross commands the center of the cemetery. Several pioneer families donated the larger-than-life crucifix, imported from France in 1908 (Voltin 1979). A single file of seven rectangular concrete slabs leading from the entrance of the cemetery to the crucifix marks the graves of Westphalia's parish priests. These elements also face east toward the church in precise rows. Expansion removed much of the original wrought iron fencing, although some survives on the north side. A wrought iron entry arch dating to about 1950 marks the ceremonial entry to the grounds. Chain link fencing at the rear of the property coincides with the western boundary of the church tract.

In August 1884 H.T. Rabroker dug the first recorded burial in the cemetery for Henry Lenz, the infant son of Fritz Lenz. German Catholic Westphalians continued to use this final resting place, forming a Cemetery Society to care for the grounds. By the mid-1920s the society's membership reached 164 volunteers overseen by a board of three trustees.

Westphalia Little School Site No. 88.

Westphalia's German Catholic families implemented an educational program for their children soon after arriving from Frelsburg. The earliest classes were held in the church. In 1884 they drew up a contract with J.H. Pels to teach five months of public instruction and three months of private school for a salary of $30 per month. The cost of private parochial instruction was paid directly by the parishioners. This early commitment to establishing a school reflects the cultural importance of education, and particularly parochial education, to the community founders.

In 1887 Falls County drew new district boundaries creating the Westphalia School District No. 45. The county accommodated the community in an unusual partnership that lasted nearly five decades, channelling public education funds to the parochial school. Brother Stefan Geiser and his assistant, Tom Sullivan, taught 65 district pupils and 7 transfer pupils in the 1889-90 school year. Geiser received $50 per month for a seven month term. Pels resumed teaching the following year, with the assistance of Professor Kerkoff. Nuns from the Sisters of Divine Providence in San Antonio also taught in Westphalia during this period. The sisters taught reading, writing and arithmetic, stressing religious instruction and preparing students for their First Communion. Finishing classes in all three rooms constituted a complete education in Westphalia.

The community built its first school house on the hill next to the church in 1896. Now known as the Westphalia Little School, the building is an outstanding example of the community's vernacular educational architecture. The frame three-room school approximates contemporaneous center- passage dwellings such as the Rabroker House. A third wing added to the rear gives the building a T-form, a phenomenon that typifies expansion of Westphalia's farmhouses. The pedimented entry portico, fishscale shingles and double hung sash with pedimented surrounds also characterize residential buildings in the district. The Westphalia Little School remained in service to the community until 1989. Current restoration efforts will convert it into a community heritage museum.

Minnie Hoelscher House Site No. 84.

By 1890 the earliest known dwelling in the village appeared on land belonging to the Hoelscher family. Minnie Hoelscher, a dressmaker and milliner according to the 1900 census, occupied the dwelling for many years. The property includes a barn, shed and a well in addition to the dwelling. The 1-1/2-story frame house resembles the 2-room form seen at historic farmhouses such as the c.1889 Joseph and Clothilde Kahlig House. Modest decorative elements include turned porch brackets and paired turned posts. According to census records, several people boarded with Minnie Hoelscher.

Like several other late 19th- and early 20th century dwellings situated in the village, the property remains strongly associated with the community's predominant agricultural heritage. Its retention of historic agricultural outbuildings indicates service as one of the early Hoelscher family farms, although it was partitioned off as an individual site at an early date.

Dr. B.A. and Katie Jansing House Site No. 57.

Built in 1921, this 1-story frame bungalow lies near the commercial center of Westphalia. Influenced by Craftsman tenets, it features a battered foundation skirt, triangular knee braces, geometric gable ornaments and simple box columns. Despite the application of asbestos siding, the bungalow remains recognizable to the historic district's period of significance.

Dr. Jansing purchased this property in December 1920, dedicating .75 acres for the road in front of the house and retaining 1.7 acres for the house lot. This is a typical lot size for dwellings along the Main Village Road. Tom Roberts of Lott served as the primary contractor, with assistance from Westphalian Will Ranly (Boeselt 1992).

Born in October 1879 at Flatonia, Texas, Jansing moved to Westphalia with his parents in 1883. Jansing earned his medical degree from attended St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons between 1904 and 1908. While still in medical school, Jansing married Katie Bernsen of Lott. For several years Jansing practiced medicine in Roans Prairie, Texas, making house calls by horse and buggy. At Reverend Michael Heintzelman's urging, Jansing returned to Westphalia in 1914. He eventually purchased a Model-T Ford to facilitate his rounds. The difficulty of navigating the black clay mud roads made Jansing an avid proponent of good roads. Jansing's work in Westphalia epitomized the country doctor's experience. He often took chickens or sausage in exchange for his services and only entered charges on his books if he knew the patient could afford them. Before the completion of SH 320, Dr. Jansing was the only doctor accessible to the entire Westphalia district. He delivered more than 3,000 Westphalian babies during his 40-year career (Voltin 1979). According to descendant Joe Boeselt, "right after World War II everyone in that area put siding on their homes" (Boeselt 1992). Dr. Jansing followed suit in 1947, applying asbestos siding and shingles to his bungalow. These changes constitute the only apparent alteration since the dwelling's construction. Jansing's death on 17 June 1948 marked the end of Westphalia's resident medical service.

Hoelscher/Thornton Store Site No. 47.

Built in 1907, the Hoelscher/Thornton Store is the oldest extant commercial building in the historic district. The 1-story frame building faces east onto the Main Village Road, with a second entrance at the rear of the building on SH 320. The principal (east) facade sports a false-front with a stepped parapet of horizontal boards. The store retains its original materials and architectural features to a remarkable extent, boasting a virtually intact interior.

In a historically isolated community such as Westphalia people often bartered for goods and services. Some ran based businesses like milliner and dressmaker Millie Hoelscher. Few buildings were constructed specifically for business purposes. H.A. Hoelscher's father built this store for him in 1907. The Hoelscher sold dry goods from this building and groceries in an adjacent building destroyed by fire. Current owners are Hoelscher granddaughter Charlotte Kleypas Thornton and her husband Johnny. The store serves as a regional landmark and community gathering place.

Stefka/Hoelscher/Doskocil Cotton Gin Site No. 86.

Built about 1930 on a cruciform plan, the Stefka/Hoelscher/Doskocil Cotton Gin evolved as technologies changed. Although it original form remains apparent, both historic and nonhistoric modifications affected its appearance. Flanked by extensive cotton fields on the outskirts of the village, it continues to evoke the important historic agricultural and economic associations of the district's agrarian past.

Traditionally, steam and water-cooled gins prevailed in cotton growing country. During the fall months, one could see or hear the cotton gin engines for miles. Gins operated in the Westphalia area from the 1890s forward. Joseph Hoelscher constructed one of the first local gins about 1.5 miles west of the village on property now owned by the Eugene Beach family. About 1930 Will Stefka purchased the gin, moving the machinery into this building closer to the village. Stefka operated the gin until 1937, whereupon A.C. (Tony) Hoelscher assumed ownership. Hoelscher ran the concern until selling it in 1944 to R.V. Doskocil, who renamed it Farmers Gin. Doskocil's sons continue to run the plant, the only operational gin in Westphalia.

Christopher and Mary Fuchs Farmstead Site No. 41.

The Christopher and Mary Fuchs farmstead includes one of the oldest dwellings in Westphalia, built about 1890, and more than a dozen associated outbuildings. Christopher and Mary Fuchs founded this farmstead after immigrating to America from Germany in 1852 and 1867 respectively. Initially settling in the Frelsburg area, the Fuchs obtained title to a 200-acre tract of land from J.G. Childers in January 1890 (Falls County Deed Records). The Fuchs owned their farm outright by 1900, although they no longer actively farmed (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1900). Of their eight children, five lived at home, with the oldest farming the lands. The farm was later divided among the children, with the house passing to the eldest son, Anton.

Anton and his brother Stephen traded farms in 1921. Stephen received the family house and an 88 acre strip of farmland, while Anton obtained a larger 111.85 acre tract. Stephen and his wife Katie subsequently deeded the family farm to their son Leo and daughter Louisa, who recently bequeathed the land to the Church of the Visitation. Leo and Louisa Fuchs also inherited an additional 20-acre tract from the Anton Fuchs Farmstead. As a result, the farm encompasses 87.1 acres of cropland and 20.3 acres of pastureland, including a six acre prairie grass hay meadow that was never plowed. This rare remnant of the vast rolling grasslands that historically covered the Westphalia area greatly enhances the significance of the property.

Apparently the original Fuchs family dwelling, the farmhouse appears relatively unchanged over the years. Built about 1890, the 1-1/2-story frame dwelling takes a vernacular centerpassage form with a rear ell. The symmetrical 5-bay facade incorporates a full width porch with chamfered posts, a central door with side lights, and a gabled roof incorporating twin dormers. This outstanding example of a late 19th century farmhouse epitomizes those built by the first generation of Westphalian farmers.

The farmstead's historic outbuildings cluster in a typical barnyard configuration separated from the house by a hard-packed drive. The barnyard consists primarily of animal pens and shelters such as chicken coops and hog pens. Among the most noteworthy, a 1-story rectangular chicken coop at the southeast corner of the complex incorporates a chimney. According to area informants, such chimneys allowed farmers to incubate baby chicks as early as January. In addition, four hog pens in the yard consist of double pens enclosed by board fences. Each pen contains a cylindrical metal storage bin for feeding the hogs. The barnyard also contains several large-animal barns, including a 1-1/2-story rectangular barn with a hay loft. This barn and an adjacent 1- and 2-story rectangular barn with open pens were used to shelter cows, while another 1- story one-bay outbuilding served as the horse barn. Several historic storage sheds and garages co-exist in the barnyard with a large vegetable and flower plot, an old privy and a well. Nearly all these contributing outbuildings are frame constructions with wood-shingled roofing or metal roofing. Noncontributing outbuildings include several metal storage buildings dating to the 1960s.

The layout of the Fuchs farmstead conforms to the typical Westphalian pattern. The building complex occupies high ground near the center of the cultivated fields. A cedar post and barbed wire fence with wild vegetation separates the dirt road leading to the building complex from the fields. A decorative wire fence segregates the barnyard from the house's yard, which is filled with flower beds, old roses and large trees. As it contains representative examples of nearly every historic element of a farmstead, the complex is one of the best examples in the historic district. Relatively few modern alterations mar the buildings or the landscape.

Anton Jansing Estate Site No. 66.

Arriving in 1888, Anton Jansing became one of the earliest German Catholic settlers in Westphalia. He helped establish the parish church before his death on 14 August 1898. This historic farmstead preserves part of his original 227 acre tract. While his dwelling and several outbuildings remain largely intact, however, modern commercial farming has transformed the surrounding fields to an extent that destroyed much of the landscape's historic character.

Jansing evidently built an outstanding center-passage plan farmhouse about 1890. Decorative detailing includes a pedimented front door with sidelights and transom, pedimented 4/4 windows and a pedimented porch incorporating fishscale shingles. Its primary facade approximates those of the contemporaneous Rabroker House (destroyed) and the Hesse House (Site No. 20).

Separated from the dwelling by the short hard-packed drive leading from the main county road, three major outbuildings are all that remain of a more extensive historic barnyard. A 2-story animal and hay barn incorporates open bays for cattle and board corrals. A second 1-story frame barn stands nearby, as does a metal garage featuring hasp hinged doors. These outbuildings typify the substantial barns and garages in the district, although most barnyards also contained a variety of smaller storage buildings and animal shelters.

Elizabeth Biemer Farmstead Site No. 67.

Theodore Rabroker solicited Herman and Elizabeth Biemer to homestead land near his own farmstead. A Texas-born native of the Frelsburg area, Herman and his German-born wife settled in Westphalia as a result. Within a few years, however, Herman's death left his 30-year old widow and four young children to run the farm. Elizabeth Biemer held a mortgage on the farm in her name, eventually leaving it to her children. Lucy Biemer owned this farm and an adjacent 244-acre tract for many years. It eventually passed to Joe Ketterman Sr. and his wife, a Biemer descendant.

Built about 1915, the farmhouse typifies many second- generation dwellings in the historic district. A high- pitched hipped roof surmounts this standard plan house from the early 20th century. As at most Westphalia farmsteads, the agricultural outbuildings stand apart from the house on the Biemer farm. These outbuildings consist of a 1-story historic frame barn and a 1-story frame vehicle garage with large hasp-hung doors. The complex also contains three Noncontributing outbuildings, including a 1-story modern shed, a 1-story metal barn with front gabled and a new cattle feeder.

The original farmstead is now divided into a historic tree-shaded pasture and a section in which intensive cultivation practices eradicated many historic landscape elements. Some elements, such as the fence line demarcating the property's boundary, continue to embody rural historic landscape qualities that characterize the district.

The intensively plowed fields on the adjacent tract provide a startling contrast to the surviving historic pastures.

Joseph and Clothilde Kahlig Farmstead Site No. 72.

An excellent example of the ideal Westphalia farm, this farmstead remained in the same family since Joseph A. Kahlig filed a deed for the property on 15 October 1884. Kahlig and his wife Clothilde lived in a small log house near the creek for a few years before building the present house about 1889 (Kahlig 1993).

The 1-1/2-story farmhouse and its historic outbuildings are among the oldest in Westphalia. The combination of a center-passage form with a rear ell occurred regularly in the community. Associated outbuildings include a 2-story metal hay barn, a 1-1/2-story metal animal barn, a pig pen, chicken house, and tractor barn. In addition, the farmstead contains a 1-story frame root cellar, a working well, and a historic buggy barn. Equally significant landscape elements include flat land for cotton cultivation, an elevated building complex, sloping grassy land and a large stock pond for grazing cattle.

G. P. Hoelscher Farmstead Site No. 99.

The historic G. P. Hoelscher farmstead, encompasses ten historic buildings and an ornamental garden. The original 200-acre farmstead was subsequently divided, with these features associated with the initial operation and a second house dating to about 1908 associated with one of the subdivided tracts. This c.1890 1-1/2-story house conforms to the vernacular center-passage form common in the historic district. Nearly identical to the Christopher Fuchs House, it features three gabled dormers and a front porch replaced during the period of significance. Its associated outbuildings include a 1-1/2-story frame hay barn, a 1-1/2- story frame garage with hasp hinged doors, a hen house, a 1- story tractor shed, a 1-story frame corn crib, a frame privy, a brick cistern and a concrete-sheathed brick well, as well as a hot water house, or wash house.

The Hoelscher farmstead also retains landscape features such as cedar post fence rows, a timber stand along the creek bed and an elevated site for the building complex. A decorative metal fence and gate enclose the domestic yard, with symmetrical plantings of shrubs and trees enframing the house. Holly and crape myrtles flank the front porch. Pecan trees stand at the fence corners to shade the house. Rose bushes grow on the east side of the dwelling. This domestic yardscape represents the ordered arrangement typical of the district's historic farmsteads (Voltin 1979).

Henry Meyer Farmstead Site No. 22.

Originally associated with the Karnowski property, this property was farmed by the Henry Meyer family for many years. It contains the only example of an I-house in Westphalia. While the I-house is the sole example of its type in the historic district, it represents a once-popular local vernacular architectural form. Local informants recall several other examples of this form, including one of the original church rectories. Built about 1900, the 2- story centerpassage plan house also featured the rear ell typical of local farmhouses. The collapsed full-width porch testifies to the fragile condition of vacant houses in the historic district. Associated outbuildings include a 3-bay hay barn of 1-1/2 stories, an open sided animal barn with corrals and a 1-story frame shed. Nearby lies the concrete foundation of a c.1935 sanitary pit toilet built by the WPA. The house yard encompasses a dilapidated frame privy and a brick well sheathed in concrete. Although these features are in extremely poor condition, they retain sufficient integrity to be recognizable to the farmstead's period of significance.

Frank J. and Julia Buckholt Farmstead Site No. 78.

This farmstead represents the district's second generation farmstead patterns. Alois Buckholt established the farm on a tract purchased out of the Martin Byerly Survey in the initial wave of settlement at Westphalia. Born 11 January 1884 and raised in a 2-room house on the property, his son Frank went on to study music at St. Edward's, a Catholic college in Austin. Upon his return to the community Frank played the organ and directed the men's choir at the Church of the Visitation for the next 50 years (Buckholt 1992). In 1912 Frank and his wife Julia commissioned a new house from carpenters Crier and Sapp. They raised their family in the 1-1/2-story hipped roof bungalow that replaced his father's house. The house has changed little since its completion.

The farm layout remains typical of the district's historic farmsteads. The field road segregates the house yard from the barnyard, for example, with buildings neatly aligned to facilitate farming chores. Extant historic outbuildings include a 2-story hay and cattle barn, two 1- story chicken houses, a 1-story garage/work shed and a 1- story storage building/garage. All feature frame construction methods with board-and-batten or vertical board siding. Several pig pens and a metal feed silo complete the ensemble. Beyond the confines of the building complex, however, the associated landscape no longer exhibits distinguishing characteristics from the historic period. As the property is currently leased for commercial cotton farming, intensive agricultural practices obliterated nearly all historic landscape elements such as field patterns and fence rows.


More than a century after its founding Westphalia maintains its German Catholic identity. Homogenous settlement patterns, an education program based in religion and ongoing rural isolation bolstered the community's strong cultural identity throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the rural community encompasses a cohesive collection of historic farmsteads on which residents worked and the village where they traded, worshipped and educated their children. This rural historic landscape bears witness to the impact of cultural traditions on the region's historic resources. Westphalia's fields, roadways, farmsteads, dwellings and institutions reflect the traditional cultural and occupational patterns that survived on the Texas blackland prairie for more than 100 years. Significant at the local level as a rural historic landscape, the Westphalia Rural Historic District is therefore nominated under Criterion A for its agricultural associations and under Criterion C as an example of rural community development and planning that continues to demonstrate its traditional agricultural patterns.


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