city, seat (1846) of Comal county and also partly in Guadalupe county, south-central Texas, U.S. It lies on the Balcones Escarpment at a point where the Comal River (3 miles [5 km] long and within city limits) flows into the Guadalupe River, 30 miles (50 km) northeast of San Antonio. The community was established in 1845 by a group of German immigrants led by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels and sponsored by the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas (properly Mainzer Adelsverein, a group of German noblemen). Named for Braunfels, Prussia (now in Germany), it was incorporated in 1846. Although after the 1940s the German influence lessened, the community has retained much of its old culture. Sophienburg, former home of the prince, is a museum, and there is a monument to the German pioneers; several other German-style homes are also preserved as museums, and the city's Wurstfest is a popular German festival. Tourism based on nearby Landa Park, Natural Bridge Caverns, and Canyon Lake augments the city's economy. The city is also home to the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture. Industrial activities include textile and hosiery mills, flour and seed mills, and a limestone plant. There are also ranching, agriculture, and dairying interests. Pop. (1990) 27,334; (2000) 36,494.
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