Local church Preserves History of Fredericksburg.
To commemorate the 175th Anniversary of the settlement of Fredericksburg, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has combined efforts with many from the community to replace the Water Wheel at Marktplatz. The Water Wheel memorializes the contributions to the Fredericksburg colony made by migrating members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known in history as Mormons, under the leadership of Lyman Wight. The Latter-Day Saints settled in the Texas Hill Country from 1847-1855. The German settlers in the area had common beliefs regarding religious tolerance and opposition to slavery which attracted the religious migrants, who mainly originated from the New England states. German settlers, Mormon migrants, and Comanche Indians worked together to survive in the Texas frontier. The Latter-Day Saints introduced corn and other varieties of American grain to the German settlers, helping them farm and become accustomed to the ever-changing Texas weather patterns. The Saints also had extensive experience in lumbering and construction. Upon settling at a site on the Pedernales River 4 miles southeast of Fredericksburg, the Mormons built a community that included a chapel, school, store, gristmill, and sawmill. The mills being powered by a water wheel. According to the US Census of 1850, the colony, known as the Zodiac Colony, was responsible for 60% of the commerce of Gillespie County, supplying lumber, furniture, ground floor, and cornmeal to Fredericksburg and Fort Martin Scott.
The members of the Fredericksburg branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would like to thank Elder Hardwoods, Waymaker Designs LLC, City of Fredericksburg, Tic Tac Towing LLC, and Straube's Machine Welding shop. These participants joined to rebuild the failing structure, including dismantling, rebuilding, and installing the new water wheel.
"I would like to express my appreciation for the generous donation to rebuild the waterwheel at Marktplatz from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We had been having problems with it over the last few years and now have a working wheel for the 175th Anniversary year," commented Andrea Schmidt, Parks Director.