popocafe
POPO RESTAURANT
IH 10W, Welfare Exit
Library File #300.059

HISTORY: The structure was first built as a dance hall in 1929 by a rancher and dairyman named Edwin Nelson. There were just gravel roads in the area then. First, he built a gas station and then the dance hall. Nelson City was put on the map at that time although there was no post office there. It was located on Hwy. 87 which was the major road from San Antonio to Fredericksburg and Kerrville.

This was during the Great Depression and also during the time when alcoholic drinks were prohibited, PROBITION. The Nelson Dance Hall started out with a bang with a dance every two weeks. An orchestra, when there was one, played from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and was paid $25.00. sometimes there was just old time music with a violin and guitar and the two were paid a total of $5.00 to play. Admission started out at 25 cents each but as the depression became worse, the price dropped to a dime and then finally just the passing of a hat. People didn't have the money to buy gasoline to get there and then, the dance hall failed.

The building was sold to Edwin Houston, a very colorful rancher who lived across the road from the building. He is well known for his large export operation of cattle, mules and other animals to Latin America. His children, Rena and Fritz have said that he sold to Pancho Villa in Mexico, to Batista in Cuba, to Trujillo in the Dominican Republic and to Somoza in Nicaragua.

Mr. Houston started a restaurant in the old dance hall building and named it PoPo Cafe. The name is generally accepted as coming from Popocatepetl, the great Mexican volcano. It was well known to him in his Mexican ventures and it is said that he wanted a short, punchy name.

Houston sold Po-Po to Willie Reinhard in 1934. It changed hands several times and had some hard times. Mrs Edgar (Annabelle) Pfeiffer gives the following information about this building: "My husband, Edgar Pfeiffer, did the ripping of slats for Mr. Wease when he made the bar and basket- wove some walls. Right after World War II, we used to go to dances here on Saturday nights. (1948-50)."

The building was sold to Luther and Marie Burgon in 1950. This is the time that the great restaurant days of Po-Po begin when it became a family restaurant.

Marie was born in Austria and came to Wisconsin with her parents as a small child and spoke no English at the time. She and Luther married in 1921, visited the Texas Hill Country after World War II, fell in love with it and bought the old rock home next to PoPo. They bought and began operating Po-Po and developed the reputation of being one of the finest restaurants in the area. It was the place to go for the well known families in San Antonio and residents of the Hill Country alike.

Luther and Marie travelled one month a year and were not satisfied with photos as a reminder of their many travels. They began collecting plates which now adorn the walls of the two large rooms of Po-Po.

The Burgon's kept Po-Po as a Family Restaurant until 1981 when it was sold to Ralph and Evelyn Schneider. They retained the same atmosphere and were open four nights a week and for lunch and dinner on Sunday. A wine list was added for dining enjoyment.

In 1983 it was sold to Jerry and Jenrose Tilley and Edd Martin. They have continued to enlarge the business, adding another building and an outdoor pavilion, both to be used for parties and celebrations.

Source: Boerne Public Library files, February, 2000.

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