settlement inn
Aue Stagecoach Inn or Settlement Inn
on National Register of Historic Places

LEON SPRINGS, TEXAS
Interstate Highway 10 a few miles West of San Antonio in Bexar County

HISTORY:In the 1970s a short history of Leon Springs was written by Jeanne Dixon, a resident of Leon Springs at that time. Ms. Dixon suggests the area may have been mapped by a Spanish explorer, naming it for himself when he found the abundant spring here. She says "No matter! [how the name came about] The springs were vital to the survival of all who lived in and roamed these parts, and comparatively recent Indian tribes such as the Coahuiltacans, Tonkawas, and Comanches have left behind flint points and other artifacts as reminders of their presence here. A local resident, Amelia Garcia, remembers her grandfather, a Jicarillo Apache, living where St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church now stands. Her great-grandparents were Mescalera Apaches and their tepee was pitched on the site of the present church property." Note: the first church on east side of IH10 Hwy.

Ms. Dixon reports the following information about Leon Springs: John W. Smith, who was the last messenger to carry a dispatch from the Alamo during the siege, and who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, was rewarded with a land grant in Leon Springs. He later became the first elected mayor of San Antonio. A part of his land was sold to John O. Meusebach, the German nobleman who was most successful in settling his countrymen in Texas. Baron Meusebach lived and farmed at Comanche Springs, which we now know was in present day Camp Bullis. Best known for negotiating a lasting peace treaty with the Comanche chief Santana, Old Owl, and Buffalo Hump, he opened up new colonization possibilities between the Llano and San Saba Rivers, and founded Fredericksburg in 1846. The thriving peach industry in the Hill Country is the result of his pioneering efforts. Meusebach's stately farm with its Roman baths built over the springs was often a haven for such notables as Ferdinand Roemer, the geologist and Ferdinand Lindheimer, Texas' first botanist whose significant plant and wild flower collection resulted in part from his visits to Leon Springs."

From the Leon Springs Chronicle, March 1985- "In the mid-19th century, German immigrant, Max Aue, became a permanent resident near the spring at the edge of the Hill Country. The first few years in Texas, Aue served three tours of duty with the Texas Rangers . After his tour in 1852 he acquired 640 acres for services rendered as a Ranger. The 640 acres at Leon Springs founded his holdings which grew to 20,00 by the time of his death in 1903. After his last tour in 1856, he met Emma Toepperwein and they were married the following year. Aue established the Leon Springs Supply Co., a general store, which was in the building known today as the Settlement Inn. The family lived in the upstairs area. Aue served as postmaster until 1861 from the back part of this building. The Settlement Inn became the first stop on the "Jackass" Stageline route from San Antonio to San Diego, California. The stage would leave San Antonio with mail and passengers to arrive in San Diego fifty-three days later. The stage used Aue's store as a horse changing station and rest stop. The stop became so popular with stage passengers that in 1879 Aue built the Leon Springs Hotel next to the Settlement Inn. The hotel became a papular place for visitors throughout the United States. As a matter of fact, one visitor, Lorenzo Hyatt from New York, met one of Aue daughters while he was visiting. The couple later married and moved to New York. In 1887, the railroad came through Leon Springs and the town was renamed by the railroad as Aue Station. During World War I, Leon Springs thrived when the First Officer training center was established. Rudy Aue, Sr. built five saloons at Leon Springs. Pearl beer was shipped from San Antonio daily. In 1926 Rudolph Aue, Jr. built a new store, which today (1985) houses Rudolph's Corner, a Texaco station, ice house and tavern. The site of the Leon Springs Hardware Store was the old "B29 Club" during World War II, a favorite gathering place and dance hall for soldiers. The hotel and original store and post office were occupied by members or employees of the Aue family until 1952 when they became vacant. According to Jeanne Dixon, "Neighbors in the early days were few and far between. In 1854, Capt. George von Plehve, a former Prussian army officer, bought land and brought his young bride, a ward of the King and Queen of Bavaria, to Leon Springs. Together they built a little compound of houses which can still be seen from the Boerne Stage Road. Despite hardships and Indian depredations, the Von Plehves entertained graciously and extensively and were the first in these parts to build a fence around their land. Stage coaches also stopped regularly at their place to change horses and secure food and water, the free use of which was never denied, although the springs were in the confines of the fence.

Captain and Mrs. Von Plehve are buried fifty yards west of the last little house they built. In time, the property was bought by the Altgelt family, descendants of early German settlers who established the town of Comfort, with its first saw and grist mill in these parts. At one time, the Worth family lived on the Altgelt property. Bill Worth later became a South Texas businessman and part owner of the Redland-Worth Corporation, which operates the old McDonough Quarry.

In 1908, 18,000 acres of land were purchased by the U.S. Government and designated the Leon Springs Military Reservation. At the beginning of world War I, the first officers' training camp was established at Camp Funston, as it was called then. In 1917 1,500 young men were graduated, furnishing more officers for the officer corp than did West Point. --- In 1911, the first cross country aeroplane flight was made from Fort Sam Houston to Leon Springs. --- The 26 mile round trip flight was made in 1 hour and 45 minutes."

Quoting from the Boerne Star of 1940 the following article:

Feud Settled
"The feud between Mayor Max Toepperwein of Leon Springs and W. "Doc" D. Wood has been settled. Mr. Wood has decided he will withdraw and renounces all his rights to be mayor and joins Mayor Toepperwein in proclaiming to the world that by right and by wrong, Mayor Toepperwein shall be mayor, big cheese and little cheese as long as Leon Springs is a Spring (it's about dry now)
Mr. Wood says that his business is growing so fast that the store will require all his time and he is sure that Mayor Toepperwein will use his store part of the time for his office."

In the early part of the twentieth century, the Toepperwein, family operated a dairy on the property which is now known as The DOMINION just south of the Leon Springs area.
In 1973, Steve Spence and Mike Pope bought the old store and Rudolph's Corner were renovated with care to preserve the original architecture."
In the years following 1973 Leon Springs has seen tremendous growth which has not been documented in these files.

Source: Boerne Public Library files; Photo by Col. Bettie Edmonds- February, 2000

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