This is definitely a place I'd like to visit.

Castroville is located approximately 15 minutes west of San Antonio and is a town rich in history. Founded in 1844, the town was originally settled by Henri Castro and a small group of French Alsatian colonists.

Castroville Texas is located on the Medina River and U.S. Highway 90, in eastern Medina County. The town was named for its founder, Henri Castro, with whom the Republic of Texas negotiated an empresario contract on January 15, 1842. Castro's grant began four miles west of the Medina River and comprised frontier lands in Comanche territory. Wanting to locate his first settlement on the Medina River, Castro purchased the sixteen leagues between his grant and the river from John McMullen of San Antonio.

He arranged transport for mostly Catholic Alsatian farmers to the Texas coast, from where the colonists were escorted overland to San Antonio. On September 2, 1844, Castro set out from San Antonio with his colonists, accompanied by Texas Ranger John C. Hays and five of his rangers, to decide upon a site for settlement. The company chose a level, park-like area near a sharp bend of the Medina River covered with pecan trees. Castro recounts in his memoirs that after crossing the river, members of his party killed two deer, three bears, and one alligator and caught numerous fish. Subsequently, the colonists endured raids by Comanches and Mexicans, droughts in 1848 and 1849, an invasion of locusts, and a cholera epidemic in 1849.

Castro patterned his town after European villages in which small town lots were surrounded by individual farming plots. The town was surveyed by John James; its streets were named in honor of Castro's relatives and friends and the capitals of Europe. In 1844 citizens of Castroville built St. Louis Catholic Church, the first church in Medina County. The first public school classes taught in Medina County were held in this church in 1854. By 1856 Castroville supported three large stores, a brewery, and a water-powered gristmill. The community raised corn, cattle, horses, hogs, and poultry, and sold produce to the military posts in the area.

Castroville architecture and style were distinctly European. A cross was erected on Mount Gentilz. A visitor in the 1850s described Castroville as quite "un-Texan," with its "steep thatched roofs and narrow lanes" and the inn whose interior suggested "Europe rather than the frontier." The houses were not arranged along parallel lines but were spread out over many acres. Stores and residences were constructed without the broad front porches common to the South. The house builders used rough-cut stone or stone and timber combinations and smoothed over the exterior with lime plaster. The European method of building ground floors of stone and second floors with vertically placed timbers was characteristic of two-story construction. Many of the structures erected in Castroville's earliest days continue to house people and businesses 150 years later. Local builders made use of large cypress trees growing along the Medina River to produce shingles for home use or for market.


Castroville has been recognized as a national and a Texas historic district. Many of the ninety-seven Historical American buildings in Castroville can be seen on a walking tour; they include the Landmark Inn State Historic Site, the St. Louis Catholic and the Zion Lutheran churches, the Moye Formation Center, the Tarde Hotel, and Henri Castro's original homestead. Castroville celebrates St. Louis Day on August 22 each year.

The majority of Alsatian emigrants who came to Castroville during the 19th century were from Haut-Rhin (translation: upper Rhine), the southern section of the province around Mulhouse. Their dialect is somewhat different from their northern neighbors in Bas-Rhin (translation: Lower Rhine), from Colmar to the Strasbourg area.

Alsatians are amazed when they encounter Castroville Alsatians speaking the same dialect today that their ancestors brought to Texas some six and seven generations ago. The Alsatian spoken in Castroville has scarcely changed since 1844, except for borrowed English words where there is no Alsatian word.