Shiner, the "cleanest little city in Texas" and home to more than 2,000 citizens, is situated at the crossroads of alternate U.S. Highway 90 and state Highway 95 in Lavaca County. In the valley between the Lavaca and Guadalupe rivers, it began as an Indian settlement called "Half Moon."
In 1885, a post office called Half Moon was opened at a trading post near the present site of Shiner. When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway came to the area in 1887, it bypassed Half Moon and built through land owned by Henry B. Shiner. Shiner donated 250 acres for a right-of-way and depot, and a town soon grew around the new transportation facilities.
At first, the community was called New Half Moon, but in 1888 its name was changed to Shiner. Shiner was incorporated in 1890.
The remains of two old cotton gins are reminiscent of a bygone era. But now, manufactures such as Kaspar Wire Works, Boedeker Plastics, the famous Spoetzl Brewery, commercial and retail businesses, health care, and other services help drive the economy.
When visiting Shiner, stop by the Chamber of Commerce in the historic Ehlers Cigar Factory, 817 Avenue E, or call 361-594-4180. Look for historical markers on many homes, courtesy of Historic Old Town Shiner, www.shiner-oldtown.org.
The Green-Dickson Park, 135 County Road 350, features picnicking, baseball fields, tennis courts, walking trails, RV hook-ups and the Veteran's Memorial.
Half-Moon Holidays, sponsored by the Chamber the first Saturday in July, features a downtown parade, activities with bands, cook-offs and vendors at the park. The event ends with a gigantic fireworks display sponsored by Spoetzl Brewery. Tour the Spoetzl Brewery, the oldest independent brewery in Texas, at 603 Brewery.
The Gaslight Theatre, Shiner's historic Opry House at 207 E. Seventh St., was built in 1895. In 1975, the theatre reopened as a dinner theater providing plays held in the summer, spring and fall.
The Wolters Museum, located at 306 S. Ave. I, is a treasure trove of Shiner's past, and the Wolters Public Library, 115 East Second St., contains more than 1,200 holdings and a donated collection of Texas history books. The historic Peachtree Emporium, 123 E. 7th St., built in 1893 and open until the 1980s, is the location of the original Wolters' Brothers mercantile store. It is the home of the private collections of Jean Welhausen Kaspar. The building was also once a bank and the original vault and wrought iron teller cages are still in place.
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