Hermann Fischer I
In 1866, Hermann opened a general store in one end of a log cabin. In 1875, the store moved into a new, larger building, which also housed a post office and saloon. When a US Postal Service Inspector objected to having a saloon in the same building, Hermann said he made more money from the saloon and offered a choice: the post office could be removed, or the inspector could have a drink on the house. The inspector opted for the free drink, and Hermann became the first postmaster. (Photo from the Arnold B. Fischer Collections)
Hermann Fischer II
In 1894, Hermann II took over running the store and as postmaster after his father’s death. As part of the changeover, the post office requested the name be changed from Fischer’s Store to Fischer Store. In 1902, Hermann II oversaw moving the store into the third, and current, metal building. There was a huge commercial growth during the early part of the century: a grist mill, grain elevator, two large warehouses, and a cotton gin. The combined business was one of the largest inland mercantile establishments in Texas at the time.
Hermann II died in in 1931, and his brother Willie took over running the store and as postmaster. The store struggled during the Great Depression, as customers with financial difficulties couldn’t pay their accounts. Additionally, the saloon closed with the start of Prohibition, and the cotton gin was shut down in the late 1920s as the boll weevil wreaked havoc on Texas cotton crops. Although the business had changed, Willie kept the store going until he sold his share to his nephew.
Herman II’s son Eddie became postmaster in 1946, before buying out Willie’s share of the store business in 1953. By then, automobiles and roads had improved, and people had become much more mobile than in the first Hermann’s time. Tourism became the new economy, and modern gas pumps replaced the old single pump. With the construction of Canyon Lake, tourism grew and a selection of fishing tackle was added to the store. There were still plenty of local ranchers around then, though, and they usually gathered at the store on Saturdays to wait for the mail - and gossip with each other!
As Eddie began having health issues, his wife Gertrude finished his term as postmaster in 1973 and was then appointed to replace him. At 59 years old, she planned to fill the position for two years to reach the 100th anniversary of Fischer postmasters. But with her four children grown and Eddie dying in 1979, Gertrude found she really enjoyed working in the store. At an age when most people are close to retirement, she had her first opportunity at an independent income. She would remain until 1993, finally retiring at age 79 and ending 117 years of Fischer postmasters.
This daughter Charlene took over the store in 1979. She oversaw its transition from general store to an antique store and museum. There was nothing Charlene loved more than sharing her knowledge of local and family history with visitors to the store- always accompanied by a huge smile! talking to customers was always more important to her than selling merchandise. Unfortunately, Charlene passed away in October 2015. The family is now honoring the work she started to preserve and share the history of Fischer.