Home of Spring Branch Oaks and Saddle Spur
Spring Branch has a history older than the City of Houston. In 1830, before the Allen Brothers founded Houston in 1836, a German immigrant raised his log cabin along a small stream flowing to Buffalo Bayou. That earliest settler, Karl Kolbe, was to be remembered in history and included in Spring Branch I.S.D. curriculum.
One day a stranger stopped by Karl Kolbe’s place to rest his horse. As they walked along a small stream, the stranger inquired of its name and was told it had not been given a name. Observing the natural spring-fed creek, he suggested they call it Spring Branch. The stranger moved on, but the name remained. Through the generations, the story is told that a surveyor asked Karl Kolbe what was the name of the community. Given a moment of reflection he replied, “Spring Branch.”
In the early to mid 1840’s, four other families looking for a new life from their native Germany settled in the community. They were the families of Daniel Ahrenbeck, Jacob Schroeder, Louis Hilendahl, and Henry Hilendahl. In 1848, the Wilhelm Rummel and Siegesmund Bauer families arrived in Galveston aboard the condemned ship Neptune. Kolbe, Ahrenbeck, and Daniel Hilendahl met and encouraged them to settle in Spring Branch. That evening they, along with five other families, held a thanksgiving service for their safe trip. August Bauer, son of Carl Bauer was appointed religious leader of the group.
In 1849 logs were cut and prepared for the first log cabin church. Left in the woods to season, the logs were stolen. At that time, a new railroad was being built, and lumber was needed for crossties. Any thought as to the whereabouts of the stolen logs is still considered to be speculation.
However, in 1850 new logs were cut and seasoned under the very watchful eyes of Wilhelm Rummel, who donated a quarter of an acre for the church. Finally in 1854, five years after the first service was held, a little log cabin church was built near the small stream. Due to fire damage in 1864, the log cabin church was replaced by a small frame church. That little historical church still stands at 9022 Long Point.
Spring Branch has gone through many changes. In time, its population shifted from solely German to a broader but mostly Anglo population. Again in time, that changed. Today, Spring Branch is known to be a much diversified population. Families still come, looking for a new and better way of life.
That small stream of water, Spring Branch Creek, has taken on some changes. The part of the stream that runs between Willowview Lane and Spring Branch Drive now flows in large culverts underground, while on top is a little Harris County pocket park at Campbell Road and Spring Branch Drive. Other parts of the stream are still open, some lined with concrete and others remaining in natural form as it winds through Spring Branch and across I-10 into the Buffalo Bayou.
To update its history to the present, volunteers in numerous civic associations, Super Neighborhoods, the Spring Branch Management District comprised of business property owners, and many other concerned residents are working together to plan and promote the revitalization now taking place in one of Houston’s earliest and most desirable locations, Spring Branch.
© Lois Stromberg