Gruene Homestead Inn is a collection of historic houses in the community of New Braunfels, featuring rooms and suites dating from the 1850’s to the early 1900’s. Previous owners, Ed and Billie Miles, retired from public school administration in San Antonio in the early 1990’s and fell in love with New Braunfels and the Gruene Historical District. Inspired by the history of the area and the idea to develop a Bed and Breakfast, they began to locate historic homes in the New Braunfels and Gruene area and move them to their 8-acre “homestead.” With help from brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, cousins, nieces and nephews, vintage buildings have been renovated to reflect the ambiance of their era and to provide modern-day comforts to guests. There are currently 10 buildings with 20 guest units on the 8 acres located less than a mile from the Gruene Historical District. Each unit has its own outside entrance, private bath, cable TV, coffee service, and A/C controls.
The Faust House is the flagship of the 8-acre homestead and is familiar in New Braunfels as “the house that has moved around town.” Built in the early 1900’s, it was originally located in the downtown area of New Braunfels. Today it sits fully restored on the main Homestead property after being moved three times during its almost 1OO years of existence.
The house made its first move to a 10-acre site on Gruene Road and Hanz Drive. This move required cutting the building in half, removing 3 chimneys and the roof, and transporting it across 2 river bridges. It was reassembled and in 1981 the house changed hands as the 10-acre property on which it had been placed was sold. The second move was to a small parcel of land fronting on Gruene Road. In September 1992, Billie and Ed Miles saw the house with a “for sale by owner” sign stuck in the front hedges. They bought it and moved it for the third time across Gruene Road to an 8-acre site purchased from the estate of Anita and Edwin Hanz. Shortly thereafter, Gruene Homestead Inn opened for business with 3 guest rooms in the restored home.
The Farmhouse, the original building on the site, along with the windmill and hand-dug well, sits across the landscaped front lawn from the Faust House. In the 1850’s, Wilhelm Eichenroht, an early settler from Germany, built the house for his family. The Farmhouse is constructed in a traditional German style known as “fachwerk” which was characteristic of the colonial German homes. This method of construction used a frame of heavy timbers with diagonal bracing members at the corners and at the doors and other openings. The braced framing style belongs to the earliest wood-building traditions of Europe. After the frame was built, the spaces between the timbers were filled in with stone, or, as in the case of The Farmhouse, sun-dried adobe style bricks. The walls were frequently given a coating of lime plaster, which through the years was renewed so often that in many cases the frame was no longer visible.
The Farmhouse was occupied as late as 1940 and was used more recently by Edwin Hanz as a barn to house livestock and to store feed. The Miles family undertook a project of immense proportions when they set out to “fix it up.” They meticulously restored as much of the original structure as possible, inside and out, and have decorated the five units and the small grain storage barn (The Cabin) with country antiques including four-poster beds and mirrored bureaus. The Farmhouse is a genuine piece of Texas heritage and colonial history that leaves a lasting impression of a bygone era on visitors.
The Texas House was constructed in the 1890’s as part of Comal Town on the Comal River. This house was moved from its original location on Union Street in 1995. The construction plan of this type of house (early Texas two room frame farmhouse) was predominant during the greater part of the nineteenth century period of development in Texas. This house had been abandoned for several years. It was in such a state of disrepair that, in a classic case of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” it was offered to the Miles by the McKenna Hospital administration, which needed to clear the area for building expansion and parking space. This romantic cottage emanates simple yet graceful Texas country charm.
The Country House is an example of the classic form of Greek Revival style popular in the early 1900’s. The addition of dormers and wrap-around porches brought harmony, dignity, and elegance to the simple farmhouse. Originally part of the Landa Ranch and known by local folks as the Brodt House, the Country House joined the other homes in 1995. After extensive renovation, this house now offers four unique guest suites.