Things to Do

6 Historic Hill Country General Stores You Must Visit

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As a new resident of the Hill Country, I am always on the lookout for a new historic site to visit. General stores, I’ve found, are the perfect way to step back in time. Back to a time where a loaf of bread was a dime and conversations about the weather were welcome. So grab your wooden nickels and gunny sacks, folks, and do a little time travelin’ through Texas Hill Country history with me.

Bergheim General Store & Post Office, Bergheim, Texas

Exterior shot of Bergheim General Store

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Originally built as a cotton gin in 1900 by Austrian immigrant Andreas Engel, Bergheim General Store and Post Office is one of the oldest general stores still in operation today. Providing a variety of services to the local farmers has kept the store running, even through the devastating boll weevil infestation of the 1920s. Today, Bergheim (German for ‘Home in the Mountains’) General Store continues to support neighboring farms and ranches, providing groceries, feed, and fencing supplies at a fair cost.  Having remained in the Engel family all these years, Andreas’ great grandson Stanley runs the show, with hours of operation being Monday through Saturday from 7:3o a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Camp Verde General Store, Cafe and Post Office, Camp Verde, Texas

Roadside view of Camp Verde General Store

Photo: http://www.campverdegeneralstore.com/main/gallery.php

Founded in 1857 by the US Government to provide goods and services to the soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Verde, Camp Verde General Store has a unique history.  As one of the sites where camels were housed by the military before, during and shortly after the Civil War, Camp Verde certainly has earned its State of Texas Historical Marker. Visitors can enjoy browsing fine artisan products from around the world, and even enjoy an ice cold beer on their patio.  Having been updated and modernized while still maintaining its old world charm, Camp Verde General Store is a lasting tribute to an important part of Texas Hill Country history. Visit their website for store/restaurant hours:  www.campverdegeneralstore.com  

Castell General Store, Castell, Texas

View of Castell General Store storefront
Photo: Flickr/lens_wide_open

Founded as a blacksmith shop in 1927, Castell General Store has also served as a filling station, a garage and a cafe. The town of Castell itself was founded in 1847, and still remains an unincorporated and simple pioneer town today. The history of the store has been lost over the years, but that doesn’t take away for its historic charm. While it still serves as a general store, it also hosts a variety of events and festivals, from their annual bicycle 100k in April to the oddly fun Testicle Festival in May. Owner and resident celebrity Randy Leifeste is always willing to entertain visitors any time of the year. Try to stop by on a weekend for their famous bbq and burgers. It’s well worth the drive.

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