German immigrant and founder of Pioneer Flour Mills, Carl H. Guenther (1825-1902), built this home in 1860. The home and business has successfully remained in the Guenther family, and today, the home features a museum, mill store, and restaurant. The museum features a variety of items on display including Dresden china plates, baking accessories, paintings, and fine furniture such as a Victoria marble-top table.
Carl Guenther House
Carl H. Guenther (1825-1902)
Backstory and Context
After being trained like his father to be a millwright and even becoming a master within the European guild, Carl Hilmar Guenther immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1848 (he was also a stonemason and cabinet maker). He first arrived in New York City then made his way to Wisconsin before traveling down the Mississippi River. He sailed back to Germany then returned a few months later, arriving in New Orleans around 1851. He became a U.S. citizen in 1854.
Gunther founded the Pioneer Flour Mills (not its original name) in Gillespie County 1851, nine miles west of the town of Fredericksburg. After experiencing periods of flooding and drought, he decided to relocate his headquarters to San Antonio 1859. He also recognized the need in the city for a flour mill. In 1860, after building constructing his new mill—the city's first steam and water-powered mill—he built his home, which is in the King William Historic District, for himself and his wife, Henrietta Dorothea Pape. They married in 1855 and raised seven children in the home.
Guenther became a leading member of the German immigrant community in San Antonio. The mill, which was built by local German farmers in exchange for milling, became a gathering place for Germans to gather and socialize. Guenther eventually helped establish a club and build a clubhouse.
The company was incorporated as C.H. Guenther & Son in 1898 and within a few years was renamed Pioneer Flour Mills. Guenther had also established an ice plant called the Southern Ice Company, which later became the Southern-Henke Ice Company. In 1902, Hilmar's youngest son, Erhard (1868-1945), became president of the mill and he remodeled the home as it appears today. The home and business has remained in the Guenther family. The house, which opened to the public in 1988, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
"About Us." The Guenther House. Accessed March 15, 2023. https://www.guentherhouse.com/about.
Gideon, Margaret Guenther. "Guenther, Carl Hilmar (1826-1902)." Handbook of Texas Online. Last Updated April 9, 2016. Accessed March 15, 2023. https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/guenther-carl-hilmar.
Seidel, Jeff. "Pioneer Flour Mills." Handbook of Texas Online. Last Updated April 9, 2016. Accessed March 15, 2023. https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/pioneer-flour-mills.
Watson, Maria A. et al. "Carl Himar Guenther House." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. October 11, 1990. https://s3.amazonaws.com/NARAprodstorage/opastorage/live/51/9711/40971151/content/electronic-records/rg-079/NPS_TX/90001539.pdf.
Guenther House: Larry D. Moore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carl_guenther_house_2012.jpg#/media/File:Carl_guenther_house_2012.jpg
Carl H. Guenther: Find a Grave - https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/43067920/carl-hilmar-guenther/photo