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A Little History Of Leon Springs, TXBy Marlene RichardsonCAo-Author of The Settlement of Leon Springsbundant springs and robust creeks put Leon Springs on the map in the 1800s as an important stopping point on the old roadheaded to a Mission and Frontier Forts northwest of San Antonio. In 2011, the old Scenic Loop/Boerne Stage/Toutant Beauregard Roads received Historic Corridor Designation by the Texas Legislature with an historic marker placed at the intersection of those roads in 2015. The historic roadway was the path northwesterly for immigrants, military wagon trains, cattle drives, stage coaches and finally for autos in the 1920s. There was no other route from San Antonio to Fredericksburg until the 1930s when Fredericksburg Road was built and subsequently in the 1960s with the I-10 Interstate Highway.Although Leon Springs was on the map for ages, it never had a mayor or town hall! In the mid 1800s Europeans seeking the freedom to own land settled in the area known for its healthy climate. Baron John Meusebach, founder of Fredericksburg, built his first home in what is now Camp Bullis. Prussians George and Sophia Von Plehwe and Max and Emma Aue operated stage coach stops whose old stone cabins still stand along the stage route.During the military buildup for both WWI and WWII troops trained at what was the Leon Springs Military Reservation and the old San Antonio Aransas Pass Railroad serviced both military and civilian transportation needs. Aue Train Station was behind Rudy’s BBQ where you can also find the Aue Stage Stop and Hotel.In the early 1880s farmer and musician Herman Toepperwein began teaching school in the blacksmith shop until Max Aue donated land and the first schoolhouse was built in 1881. Several wood schoolhouses burned and the 3 room rock schoolhouse opened in 1932. Currently Leon Springs has four large elementary schools indicating the tremendous growth the area is experiencing.Colorful characters over the course of history in Leon Springs include:“Crazy Lou”, an eccentric artist who arrived in a gypsy wagon pulled by her two beloved donkeys. She talked to them as if they were her children, chewed Bull Durham, loved her liquor and was a subject of fascination for her neighbors - some of whom connected her with the mythical Donkey Lady ghost story.“Ad” (Adolph) Toepperwein, a famous sharp- shooting showman, and his wife Plinky, who built a little cabin for their practice sessions near the HEB corner. Ad had been an artist and cartoonist for the San Antonio Express.Baron Ottfried von Meusebach, who is famous for his treaty with the Comanche enabling the establishment of Fredericksburg. His red hair and long beard fascinated the Comanche women who tried to wash the color out.Benjamin Foulois, the famed early aviator who made the first cross-country flight from Fort Sam Houston to Camp Bullis.Tommy “Pink Whiskers” Tompkins who held sway as commander of Camp Stanley while gaining an infamous reputation.Machine Gun Kelly and the Pitts and Yeager Gangs and other outlaws who terrorized area residents and hid treasures in hill country caves.Aue Complex.Romano’s Macaroni Grill.Leon Creek back in the day.An Islamic Sufi Shaykh who built a compound atop the first Cielo Vista hill for his three wives, a hill where the Presbyterian Church had erected a huge lighted cross. The Shaykh established a mosque and school in Kendalia. Troubles with the IRS caused the collapse of his 10 year domain and the Kendalia site has been transformed into the Holy Archangels Greek Orthodox Monastery.Hollywood came to Leon Springs in 1926 with the filming of “Wings”, the first movie to win the Academy Award for best picture. A French village was built in Camp Stanley and three of Hollywood’s major stars were featured - Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen and the “It Girl” Clara Bow. It was Gary Cooper’s first role in a film. The production had the support of the military that supplied tanks, trucks, explosives 5,000 troops and 165 WWI aircraft - the entire US Army fleet!The most famous business enterprise was Phil Romano’s Macaroni Grill founded in the old Leon Springs Dance Hall and spread across the country, followed by Rudy’s BBQ housed in Rudolph Aue’s General Store and Gas Station.What was the wilderness of Leon Springs - where a Bavarian Princess camped while her husband oversaw the building of their three little rock and log cabins - has now become a bustling suburban area....still lacking a mayor or town square!Rudolph Aue’s General Store & Gas Station.The Plehwe Complex is a set of historic saltbox houses on Boerne Stage Road.2017-2018www.GreatNWGuide.com9Historical

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