by Joe Castilleja, 2015 Chair of the Board

Whether it be an individual, business, or community, changes will impact how we live, work and play. Our beautiful community continues to grow, yet it maintains its unique culture and small town charm. As this development occurs, our natural resources are being protected and preserved for generations to come. As a native New Braunfelser, I have seen our town change and reinvent itself while holding strong to our traditions. Examples of those changes can be found here in downtown New Braunfels, the Herald-Zeitung, and local radio station KGNB-KNBT.

As I stroll through downtown, I remember all of the local mom and pop retail stores, pharmacies, café’s, and the movie theatre. Then came Landa Plaza with new suburban style stores anchored by the A & P Super Market. Next came the outlet mall now called New Braunfels Market Place and downtown had to re-invent itself. During the mid-eighties, downtown became and successfully promoted itself as the “Antique Capital of Texas”. Today, downtown is detailed with specialty stores, wonderful restaurants, and great watering holes with live music. The Farmer’s Market also found its way back to downtown.

The Herald-Zeitung has been “our community paper since 1852”. During my younger years, it was a weekly publication. It was a great local paper with many photos by the late Frances Bridges. In 1984, the Herald-Zeitung became a part of the Southern Newspapers, Inc. and is now a six days a week publication. Our award-winning paper continues to cover many of our community activities, as well as state, national and world news. Not only is the “Zeitung” published locally, but its press supports communities around us by printing other community papers.

On April 1, 1950, KGNB – AM was on the air from sunrise to sunset. As a child, I remember hearing the radio as my parents got ready for their day. A gentleman by the name of Felipe Reyes started the day from 5:30am to 6:30am in Spanish. Then the Honorable Herb Skoog, “The Voice of New Braunfels,” came on the air. We dared not leave the house until we heard the “Party Line”. This segment of the program consisted of headline news in the community, deaths and births. On Sundays, the program was aired in German and Mr. Franz Coreth was the D.J. of the time. In 1967, KGNB – AM continued to air, but programming was expanded with the creation of KNBT – FM. This station delivered radio content to our community 24 hours a day. In 1985, both stations were sold to the Rainer Family. Today, KNBT – FM is proudly known as the #1 Americana Radio Station in the country.

Growth continues to impact New Braunfels, but we have always had a community that cares, gives and preserves its core values. We have continued our traditions to conserve the things that make New Braunfels special. Through the passage of years, our downtown, newspaper and radio stations have been preserved. This acceptance of the new and maintenance of the old is what makes the future for our community bright. That’s what makes New Braunfels – New Braunfels.

Joe Castilleja
Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
Chair of the Board