On the Road
Trace Texas' Wendish history at museums and more in Giddings
About 60 miles due east of Austin lies the town of Giddings, which is home to lovely parks and quaint boutiques along with a number of historical sites.
Check out these four attractions that pay homage to the town’s history and important events that define it.
Lee County Museum
Located in the historic 1879 Schubert-Fletcher House, originally built by Wendish settler August Schubert for his wife and 10 children, the Lee County Museum displays the county’s history from the first Wendish settlers to the modern day. Not familiar with Wendish history? You might be, and just not know it.
"Wend" is a historic name for Slavs living near German settlements, and in 1854, Wends living in Lusatia in Europe sought greater liberty in Central Texas. Today, thousands of Texans and other Americans (many of whom are unaware of their background) can lay claim to the heritage of the Wends.
At the museum, you'll also learn about the history of the two namesake families who occupied the Schubert-Fletcher House. In the Military Room, interesting war artifacts from Lee County veterans, including a German water-cooled machine gun, are on display.
Another highlight is a historic cistern, which was part of a water system created by town founders J.D. Giddings and Dewitt Giddings.
And don’t miss the tiny cottage onsite that was originally built by Roy Fletcher. It’s now a research library operated by the Lee County Historical Commission, with all kinds of documents, books, and references available for history buffs.
Find the Lee County Museum in Giddings’s Courthouse Square, across the street from the Lee County Courthouse that was built by famed courthouse designer J. Riely Gordon in 1899.
Giddings Public Library and Cultural Center
Book nerds, you’ll love this historic library that celebrated 100 years in 2020 and boasts an impressive 38,000-book collection across 19,000 square feet.
And it’s not just books to browse, either. It also houses the largest permanent public display of Native American artifacts (2,400-plus!) in the state along with baseball memorabilia from “hometown hero” Hilton Smith.
The library even hosts a Texas Word Wrangler Book Festival every November, honoring Texas authors.
Veterans Honor Park at Veterans Park
A special part of Giddings’s Veterans Park serves as a memorial for Lee County vets from all four branches of the military, as well as POWs and MIAs.
In addition, there are four tracked military vehicles on display: an M110 Tracked Howitzer; an M728/M60 tank; and two M113 Armored Personnel Carriers.
911 Memorial at Giddings Fire Station
Pieces of two steel beams from the World Trade Center in New York were painstakingly procured by the Giddings Volunteer Fire Department after the incident and driven to Giddings, "draped in an American Flag for the entire journey." You can find them on display outside the fire station.
For maps and more things to do in Giddings, make sure to swing by the Giddings Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center while at the Lee County Museum — it’s located in the Schubert-Fletcher House, too.