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Quarterly Meeting

Tour of Rockne Museum

Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
4065 FM 535, Hilbig Park, Rockne

Lea Ann Lee.President Rockne Hist Assoc.jpg
Lea Ann Lee, President
Rockne Cabin.jpg

Lea Ann, tell us a little about what you have planned for us for Thursday, April 27.

We have a packed schedule! Arrive a few minutes early and take a stroll around Pioneer Village, the period-furnished restored log cabins of early settlers such as Philip Goertz, who brought German Catholic settlers to the area in 1850s. Then, museum manager Ovon Goertz will join me to talk about the history of Rockne, how the town got its name, and highlights of our museum and community. Special guests for the evening include Bernard Probst, who will share the secrets of making Rockne mustang grape wine –and give everyone a sample. Local musicians, including Steve Meuth and Mark Lee, will play a few songs and talk about Rockne’s musical history, such as the Rockne Playboys, a well-known band that played local dances in Bastrop County from 1947 to the 1970s. WWII veteran Arthur Goertz, 99, who is affectionately known as the “Rockne Cowboy,” will also be a special guest. Docents will be on hand to answer your questions afterwards.


Tell us a little about the Rockne Museum.

The Rockne Historical Association (RHA) was formed in 1990 with the goal of preserving our rich history and establishing a museum. In 1991, RHA members initiated a project to restore the Philip Goertz log cabin (circa 1860) and in 1992, Charles and Marian Nelson donated a plot of land near the church where the cabin now stands as part of Hilbig Park. Hilbig Park was named to commemorate Anton Hilbig’s donation of land for the Hilbig Park School (1894-1900).

In 1993, a room in Holtman Hall, the reception hall of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, housed the first museum. It contained historical items that Minnie Bartsch had been collecting since the 1950s. After the collection outgrew this location, RHA acquired land adjacent to Hilbig Park and the dedication of the current museum took place June 14, 2003.


What are some of the museum’s most notable collections?

The museum houses many artifacts of the early German settlers, including old quilts, antique furniture, and personal items. We have a wedding dress from 1885 and a candelabra (circa 1850) brought over from Germany by the Meuth family. We also have a nice collection of genealogical materials including history books and papers. One section is dedicated to veterans of the Civil War and the World Wars. Another section houses items from the church dating from 1892, such as an altar, statues, and stations. These were auctioned off at the Sacred Heart Rockne Bazaar after the church was remodeled in 1976. The original church, Ascension of Christ, was burned to the ground by arsonists in 1891. The museum is home to the original warning letter written by the arsonists.


Please tell us about Hilbig Park.

Hilbig Park includes:

  • Philip Goertz Log Cabin, a two-room dog trot cabin, circa 1860, which is significant to the history of our community because mass was celebrated and social gatherings took place here. Philip Goertz and his wife Catherine Hartman built this cabin on a site one mile from its present location. They were among the first German Catholic immigrants to settle along Walnut Creek. The cabin was moved, intact, to Hilbig Park in 1993 and  restoration of the cabin, overseen by Fred Goertz and Charlie Nelson, was completed in 1996.

  • John T. Lehman Cabin

  • Hoffman Corn Crib

  • Lee Smokehouse (donated by Ray Lee family)

  • Outhouse

  • Barn and Activity Center, added in 2013


Each has a plaque on it with details about the history and donors (the only exception is the barn/activity center, which was built in 2013 to house antique farm implements, etc.).


Thank you, Lea Ann, we are looking forward to this very informative and entertaining evening. Directions to the event: (From Bastrop, take Tx. 20 S. to FM 535, turn left and follow road for about a mile. Museum is on the right. It is approximately a 20 minutes’ drive from Bastrop.)


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