Checkpoint Author Visits The Faust Hotel

There's quite a lot of history to be found in the small towns outside of San Antonio. One of these gems happens to be The Faust Hotel & Brewing Company located just 15 minutes from my house, right up I35 North, in the town of New Braunfels, Texas.

Mondays are usually so dull, but my friend Carmen was off work, and we decided to head on over to The Faust for dinner. I found it online when checking for good places to scarf down some German food, and when I saw the name of it, I knew we had to go there. As many of you know, one of my engaging Checkpoint series characters shares the same last name, Herman Faust, the dry-witted Direktor of the Landeskriminalamt (LKA). I felt it was a sign, one that screamed "Come here!"

Off we gals went, enjoying great conversation on the way. The Faust sits on S. Seguin Ave. near the historic downtown region of New Braunfels. Out front of this four-story hotel is a bubbling fountain that is part of the front-facing wall. The night desk man, Ed, told me that it's also the local watering hole for deer who come by for a cool drink and a peek through the original leaded-glass windows. He also told me that the other night desk person, who works the rest of the nights each week, is a favorite of local feral cats. Yep, he feeds them. Sometimes, they'll come through the front door at night when they leave it open to catch the breeze, always looking for their buddy with the food.

This hotel was built in 1929, opening October 12th of that year, just two weeks before the market crashed heralding in the era of the Great Depression. Back then, it was known as the Travelers Hotel. Somehow, it survived the crash, a bol weevil infestation that damn-near destroyed the thriving textile industry of the time, and even WWII. By 1936, the hotel name was changed in honor of it's builder, Walter Faust, and it has been The Faust ever since.

There are stories of soldiers using this grand old dame as the place where they made their wedded pledges of faith and committed themselves to their brides (in a honeymoon suite) before going off to war. I imagine many a bride may have conceived their first child there, and many more waited for their new husbands to return, some possibly waiting forever, never again reuniting.

To the rear of the hotel is the restaurant, known as The Faust Brewing Company, a popular spot today for those looking for tall beer, some Brats, kartoffel chips, and even German nachos! They also serve regular pub food, but you can find a beer-cheese soup on the menu alongside a sampler plate of mini-dogs (which I ordered...a Chicago Style, a German Style, and a Texas Style mini hot dog for the undecided palate). Good stuff!

Me & my friend, Carmen at The Faust
I have to say, when you walk through the lobby, you feel like you've gone back in time. The architectural details are all original from the floors to the piano sitting in the corner of the guest seating area to the old Victrola. They also still have the original phone booth with wood bench seat and a door that folds closed for privacy. The atmosphere is aged, but with elegance. There's a sort-of mustiness to the air that speaks to the age of the building when up on the floors, and of course, no old hotel is without its ghost stories. Ed the night desk guy said he was definitely no believer in ghosts, but one night, he was putting away the mail near an old laundry chute in the office when suddenly, the chute door swung open, hitting him. He was alone, and it surprised him. He says he rationalized that it had to have been a breeze...inside a closed office....from a chute that is not in use. Okay, Ed. (A very nice gentleman, he is.)

Guests have shared they hear knocks and footsteps, and certain rooms such as 214 and 215 along with the entire fourth floor have a claim to unexplained activity. Ghost hunters enjoy checking in to do a little ghost hunting from time to time, but in all, I found it fascinating. I think I might go sit in the lobby one afternoon and see what stories spring to mind. Nothing is more inspirational than an old building that has watched eras go by, all the while silently observing the lives of the millions of visitors that have graced its rooms and dined in its restaurant. The Faust lives on, an inanimate monument of wood and stone imbued with the energy of time, still welcoming the curious, the hungry, and those who seek a place to lay their heads for the night...

(More information of the history of The Faust here.)

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