Texas now and then

This week in the Hill Country

Leap Day, Mon. Feb 29.leap-day



Yesterday’s news

1860    Friederike (Fritzchen) Recknagel, amateur photographer, was born on February 29, 1860, at the Nassau Farm near Round TopHer images of nineteenth-century Round Top, her family, and her friends document German-American family and community life on the Texas frontier.It is not known when or how Friederike Recknagel learned to take photographs, although the age of her daughter in a number of images indicates that she was proficient in her craft by the mid-1890s. She used glass-plate negatives to make images of striking clarity, eschewing the romantically soft tonality then popular among many photographers. Described by her recknagel-snowgrandson as “strong-willed and independent minded,” she recorded the buildings, events, and people of Round Top. Of particular interest to historians are her photographs of buildings now gone, such as the imposing 2½-story stone home and boarding school built in 1865–66 for J. Adam Neuthard, then the pastor of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Another of her photographs reveals that a brick building that now houses offices and an antique store was the Round Top State Bank, which at that time sported a false front and a façade of punched tin. Mrs. Recknagel also recorded many domestic structures, ranging from a two-story Victorian-era wooden frame home to dogtrot log cabins. She photographed hogs being brought to market, the train passing through nearby Carmine, men hauling logs, and other events that shaped everyday life in the area.

1988   The Chamber of Commerce of Anthony, Texas, pop. 3,328, named the town the Leap Year Capital of the World, and the Worldwide Leap Year Birthday Club, open to anyone born on February 29, had more than 100 members by 1992.



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