History Friday: Ghost Town on the Gulf

Once there was a town on the Texas Gulf Coast, which during its hey-day – which lasted barely a half-century from start to finish – rivaled Galveston, a hundred and fifty miles east. It started as a stretch of beach along Matagorda Bay called Indian Point, selected for no other reason than it was not Galveston by a German nobleman with plans to settle a large colony of German immigrants. Prince Karl of Solms-Braunfels was a leading light of an organization called the Mainzer Adelsverein; a company of well-meaning nobles whose ambitions exceeded their business sense by a factor of at least three to one. They had secured – or thought they had secured – a large tract of land between the Llano and Colorado rivers approximately a hundred miles west of Austin. The truth of it was, all they had secured was the right to induce people to come and settle on it. So many settlers farming so many acres, and the backers of the Adelsverein would profit through being entitled to so many acres for themselves.

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