The sale of a Hill Country landmark was finalized last week. The Bergheim General Store has remained in the hands of the founder’s descendants, most recently great-grandson Stanley and his wife Charlene Jones, until it sold last week.
The buyer is Kendall Lundberg, a 2004 Boerne High graduate who is a real estate broker in Washington, D.C.
Bergheim – “Mountain Home” in German” – became home to Austrian immigrant Andreas Engel in 1885 when he fled his native homeland to avoid compulsory military service. Initially a cedar chopper, Engel bought the land for what was to become the hamlet of Bergheim at the turn of the 19th century, establishing a cotton gin and a general store.
Engel named the area where Hwy. 46 and FM 3351 now intersect, and “ran the store forever,” Stanley Jones said. He quite naturally feels mixed emotions regarding the transaction.
“We’re sad that the history of the Engel family is going to be coming to its end here,” Jones said. “We’re sad to see that end, but we think the new owners are going to take the history into mind, whatever they do.”
Broker Toby Vicknair of United Country-Ray Land Company says that finding the right buyer for the almost $2 million, 7.7-acre listing was an important part of the sale.
“The Joneses were adamant about trying to get somebody who would keep the tradition going,” Vicknair said, adding that finding a buyer that would just come in and bulldoze the store down would have been a quick, easy process.
“It was a very delicate sale because we wanted to match them up with a great buyer,” Vicknair said.
That great buyer turned out to be a woman who is a fifth-generation Boerne-ite.
“My grandparents and great-grandparents are all from around there,” Lundberg said.
She plans to restore the building to its original condition while modernizing it at the same time. The end result will be “maybe a bistro, maybe boutique shops, maybe a farmers market that will be useful to a lot of people. There is so much to figure out, and we want to take our time in making it look really good and really practical,” Lundberg said.
Engel became postmaster of the Bergheim General Store’s U.S. Post Office just after the turn of the last century when cotton, charcoal, cedar, and corn were the once-rural junction’s commercial mainstays. At one point, according to the Texas Handbook Online, the Bergheim General Store once operated the largest cedar yard in the state, with cedar trading as currency and employing many “cedar choppers.”
The outpost’s store received a historical landmark designation in 1983, when the population of the hamlet stood at 22. By the 2010 census, the population had risen to almost 1,200.
The Joneses, who will be moving from their long-time residence at the store, plan to travel, seeing more of their children and grandchildren.
“There’s sadness that we’re leaving,” Stanley Jones said. “But we’re looking forward to our next life.”
“We’re super, super excited,” Lundberg said.