Hondo Crouch, The Legend of Legendary Luckenbach

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Luckenbach, Texas is known primarily because of the famous song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. For years, Willie even had his famous family picnic on the grounds at the banks of Snail Creek next to the old dance hall. The tiny Texas town, which boasts a booming population of three citizens, is the vision of a man who in many ways was much larger-than-life than either Willie or Waylon. His name is Hondo Crouch, the self-proclaimed mayor of Luckenbach.

RIP-Mayor of Luckenbach

Photo: www.traveladdicts.net

Crouch bought Luckenbach in 1970 with the intent to get away from the commercialization occurring in other parts of Gillespie Country at the time. He coined the phrase, “Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach,” which can still be found on the souvenirs sold in the gift shop today

The man, the myth, the legend.

Photo: Flickr/jadinamo

Crouch himself is a bit of an enigma. For those who knew him, he was as much of a larger-than-life character as he was an aging man struggling to find relevance in a quickly changing world. While at first his attempts in preserving Texas culture by parodying himself as the epitome of a “Hill Country bumpkin” were good natured and promising, those close to him report that late in his life the real Hondo became lost inside his folksy shtick.

For many Texans and Hill Country regulars, Hondo is known as a humorist and writer. Most of his published work was produced under the pen name Peter Cedarstacker for the Comfort News. Most of his writings were parodies or satires of Hill Country life likened to Mark Twain and Will Rogers.

Peter Cedarstacker hard at work.

Photo: www.tsdhof.org

Crouch was born in Hondo, Texas in 1916. While attending the University of Texas, he was a member of the swim team and received some recognition in the national spotlight after setting records in the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle respectively. He served in World War II with the Air Force. He was a father of four children and was married to Shatzie Stieler for 30 years, daughter of the “Goat King of the World,” Adolf Stieler. It was after marrying Shatzie that Hondo bought Luckenbach, bringing his vision to life.

Shortly before Waylon and Willie’s famous duet, Crouch died of a heart attack. Ironically, the mayor of Luckenbach and Willie Nelson never met in person.