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Converse City


Converse City Hall is located at 403 South Seguin Road, Converse, TX 78109; phone: 210-658-5356.

Beginnings [1]

Before the Civil War, the area surrounding what would become Converse, began to grow with the arrival of families like the Stappers, Reals, Biesenbachs, Classens, Schertz and others. They built a one room school house on the Stapper property in 1864.

The town of Converse was founded in 1877 as a result of railroad construction. Workers laid railroad tracks by sections, and at the end of each section a new town came into being. Our neighboring communities of Marion, Cibolo, Schertz, and Kirby were also founded during this era. The town of Converse is named for Major James Converse who was a learned railroad engineer working in Louisiana. The federal government summoned him to build a railroad line from Houston to San Antonio in the early 1860's. He started the job, but when the Civil War started he took arms to fight in the Confederate Army. After the war, he was discharged as a Major and he resumed civilian life to continue building the Galveston-Harrisburg railroad, now the Southern Pacific Railroad, passing through Converse. It was here that Maj. Converse laid out the first four town lots in 1872 starting at the corner of Station Street, going westward along Gibbs-Sprawl Road. The first train passed through in 1877. As rail traffic became available, it provided an economical means to ship cotton, which was the "king" crop of the area, to eastern markets and the town began to grow. The Converse area, a radius of 20 or 30 miles was almost exclusively a community of hard-working and prosperous farmers. Predominant crops were cotton and corn. Dairy farms were also present. The four lots Maj. Converse laid out were sold to William Lippe who in turn sold to Mr. Preusser. Ferdinand Simon and Son soon bought the property. They built a brick store and saloon and remodeled the family home to make room for the first Post Office in 1892. They also had a cotton gin business. Louie Borgfeld worked the Post Office from 1908 to 1912. In 1908 Ferdinand Simon sold to Walter Simon and Louie Borgfeld and the firm name changed to Simon & Borgfeld. The new firm did a booming business. Farmers not only bought their merchandise there, but did some banking business as well.

The first village blacksmith was George Rosser, who was succeeded by Ferdinand Fischer. In 1908, Carl A. Boeck built a second blacksmith shop, which still stands today. During the harvest season, farmers lined up wagon trains of cotton on streets waiting to get their cotton baled. To pass the time, farmers would gather and visit at the place that was directly across the street from the gin property and now owned by Boeck Equipment Company.

This was a two-story building comprising a saloon, living quarters and a second floor dance hall. Saturday night dances were very popular. Due to poor health, Emil Real had to sell the business. Walter Simon and Louie Borgfeld bought the property and converted part of the building into sleeping quarters for the many cotton gin workers while the second floor became a meeting room.

  1. City of Converse 50th Anniversary Celebration, April 9, 2011, www.conversetx.net, accessed July, 2011.
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