New Kerr County History Book Available!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Kerr County history without words or photographs

Gentle Reader, since 1994 I’ve written you these weekly letters, most of them about the history of our community. Using photographs and paragraphs I’ve hoped to both entertain and inform you while telling the story of our special place in Texas. 
My sweet wife, Ms. Carolyn, is a school teacher, and she reminds me people learn in different ways – and tell stories in different ways.
That’s why I was intrigued when Kä Neunhoffer, a young composer with deep hill country roots, visited me at the print shop. Ms. Neunhoffer and Libbie Horton, a choreographer also with local roots, are presenting “Hill Shapes,” a live performance to “bring to life some of the historic stories of central Texas.”
Horton & Neunhoffer
The Neunhoffer family has been in Kerr County, well, almost forever. Ms. Neunhoffer is related, either by blood or marriage, to about a third of Kerr County. One of her grandfathers was Julius Neunhoffer, who was Kerr County judge when I was a boy. One of her great-great-grandfathers was Julius Real, was also a Kerr County judge, but who also served in the Texas senate. Real County is named for him. One of her great-great-great-grandmothers was Emily Schreiner Real, a sister of Charles Schreiner. You get the picture.
Ms. Neunhoffer, then, has much of our local history as part of her actual DNA. Growing up in such a family has undoubtedly provided her opportunities to hear stories about our community’s past, stories passed from one generation of her family to the next.
Neunhoffer and Horton write this about “Hill Shapes:”
“The Guadalupe can be a source of relief from the hot summer sun, a source of joy, and also a violent power of destruction that comes sweeping in the night. Like the people of the hill country, nature reflects the fickle changes of time and how something can be both beautiful and have its flaws. ‘Hill Shapes’ is a close-up picture of the hill country and a few of its historical events. Lean in and take a closer look at the unique landscapes, the chronicles of our town, and a dark betrayal.”
Described as a ‘modern chamber ballet,’ “Hill Shapes” will have two performances. On Friday, October 30, at 7:30 pm, at the Union Church, 101 Travis Street (near the intersection of Broadway and Water streets, on the edge of the Schreiner University campus). The other performance will be October 31, at 2:00 pm, at the River Star park, 4000 Riverside Drive. Tickets can be purchased online at
It’s fitting the first performance will be held at the Union Church; Ms. Neunhoffer’s uncle, Julius Neunhoffer, was instrumental in the preservation and restoration of the historic structure, working with the Kerr County Historical Commission. The restored church building has been the site of many interesting community events.
A community is stronger if it knows its story. These young Kerrville women are telling a part of that story in a new way, and I applaud them for it.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who collects items and photographs from Kerr County’s history. If you have something you’d share with him, it would make him very happy. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times October 16, 2020.

A big thanks to those of you who purchased one of my books this week!  I appreciate it. 

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