In 1898 Father Joseph Roch saw the need for a new organization in Fredericksburg, Texas dedicated to promoting a strong religious life consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church, aiding the sick and distressed, honoring the dead, and preserving and cherishing the German tongue, culture and customs. The organization was to be known as the St. Joseph’s Society.
In addition to forming the new Society, Father Roch envisioned a new facility that would belong to its members and serve as a gathering space not only for the Society but for the entire Parish and the community of Fredericksburg. In 1900 this vision became a reality.St. Joseph’s Halle has served its community well for over 100 years. The Halle has not only accommodated numerous church and school activities, but has also hosted numerous social functions ranging from community theater performances to cultural events like the Saengerfest (Singing Festival). There are probably very few members of this community that have not danced, sung, broken bread or celebrated life in St. Joseph’s Halle.
St. Joseph’s Halle proudly stands as a testament to the pride and determination that early German settlers possessed when it came to constructing beautiful buildings that would last for generations.
St. Joseph’s Halle is considered today as one of the most historically significant buildings in the area. Its simple and austere detailing makes it one of the architectural gems of the Texas Hill Country.
However, a century of service has taken a toll on this great building. Plaster walls have deteriorated, wood ceilings and trim have rotted and mechanical and electrical systems have become outdated.
As with any historical treasure comes a time to renew it with an emphasis of not just repairing it but restoring it to its original beauty. By careful restoration of every aspect of the building, coupled with the use of original materials and vibrant, original paint colors not seen for generations, the historic St. Joseph’s Halle will be made new again.
The Halle has for generations served as a great local venue for the performing arts. Adding to the Halle’s already impressive features will be new performance-enhancing acoustical treatments and a state of the art audio/visual system. Improvements to its historic stage will include new curtains and lighting.
The removal of the existing addition will allow for several new and exciting features including a conference room, large restrooms, a commercial grade catering kitchen, ample storage, an expanded backstage area and a covered service entrance.
Tying all of these spaces together will be a spacious lobby that can also be used as a small reception or gather area. It will be accessed from the existing hall or through the new south-facing entrance.
Special attention has been given to the design of the new addition, keeping in mind the goal that it blends well with the architecture of the original building while still distinguishing itself as not original.
The entire addition will be clad in stucco, so it will not compete with the beautiful historic stone on the original Halle. Windows and doors will be scaled and detailed similar to those on the existing building.
The new lobby entrance will open up to a spacious, landscaped courtyard that would act as a great outdoor gathering space or overflow space for activities inside the Halle. New sidewalks will provide a pathway from the courtyard to the St. Mary’s Parish parking lot to the east and additional parking at the rear of the building.
The stone path, steps and landing leading to the Halle’s front entry will be carefully restored. Defining the front of edge of the property will be a reproduction of the original stone and wrought iron fence that once stood on the site.
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