The Historic Gruene Hall During the Holidays

There are just some places that are better suited for visiting at certain times of the year—where the magic and the moments are enhanced. The legendary Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, TX (pronounced like the color “green”), and the greater Gruene historic district is definitely one of those destinations to set aside some time to visit, really at any time of the year, but especially during the Holiday season if you can swing it.

With all the buildings and settings dazzled in lights, the iconic water tower lit up in red and green, and the laid back spirit that hits you immediately as you enter the old town square like you’ve traveled 100 years back in time, it’s all that much more intoxicating and transportive this time of year. It really is something to behold, so much so that having yet to experience it this season, I chose to take the new Saving Country Music Mobile Command Unit #2 down to Gruene and bask in its majesty before 2022 befalls us.

With the music of great country/rockabilly band Two Tons of Steel playing their Tuesday night residency at Gruene Hall filling the streets and walkways with classic American tunes, the folks inside the 140-year-old dance hall two-stepping and twirling in the Texas tradition, and more folks than normal on a weekday milling about in the old shops and restaurants, it was an arresting scene to be a part of.

The community of Gruene was settled by Germany immigrants on the Guadalupe River in the 1840’s, and became an important processing, shipping, and banking hub in the cotton industry. Gruene Hall was opened in 1878 as the cultural center for the community. But when the original cotton gin burned down in 1922, and then The Great Depression took hold, the town went into decline, becoming what was basically a ghost town by 1950.

In 1974, the effort began to revitalize the historic town and it’s building, and breathe life into the area once again. Gruene Hall was purchased by new owners the next year, and the 6,000 sq. ft. dance hall started welcoming in patrons once again. The venue soon became a launching pad for the careers of folks such as George Strait, Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and later most every important artist in Texas music. Billy Joe Shaver once had a heart attack on stage there.

These days, the town and it’s eateries and shops are just as much a reason to visit Gruene as the music. But the music is what keeps it alive. To close out the year, Gruene Hall hosts The Mavericks for three straight nights, capped off by a New Year’s Eve show and celebration.

Anyway, sometimes in life you need a reset, and that is what Gruene Hall is good for. So I thought I would bring you along just in case you needed a reset too.

Happy Holidays from Gruene, Texas, and Saving Country Music.

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