Who carved “A Beierle Dec. 25 1913” into the wall of the Canyon Lake cave that became an internet sensation last week?
Receding lake water levels — Canyon Lake is now 65% full — recently revealed a small shelter cave near Party Cove. A Canyon Lake High School student who rode his jet ski into the cave on Sept. 27 discovered this name engraved into a rockface and shared images with MyCanyonLake.com. The cave has since been dubbed the ‘Party Cove Cave’ by the Texas Speleological Survey.
The Mystery of A Beierle and EDDIE
La Vernia resident Larry Beierle thinks it was his uncle Alfred Beierle — his father Faltin’s then 21-year-old brother — who scratched his name into the rock that long ago Christmas day.
But Larry Beierle’s nephew, Canyon Lake Fire/EMS firefighter David Momone, took a closer look over the weekend. He visited the cave and found another name other visitors missed, carved right above A Beierle.
It reads ‘EDDIE.’ Larry Beierle believes that’s the Edwin ‘Eddie’ Bartels who married his father’s sister Ada in 1915 when she was 17 years old.
Ada and Eddie have no living descendants. Their only son Oliver ‘Ollie’ Bartels never had any children. He died in 2007.
Alfred Beierle and his wife Freida had a daughter named Viola, who married Roland Bindseil. The Bindseils owned a ranch on the south bank of the Guadalupe River until 1948. They sold the ranch, moved to Blanco, and opened Red & White Grocery, a bowling alley and a cafe. Their son Kenneth died in 2012.
There are no known direct living descendants of either Ada Beierle, Alfred Beierle, or Eddie Bartels.
Mildred Bartels, who married Ollie Bartels, Ada Beierle and Eddie Bartels’ son, doubts it was Ada who signed her name in the cave. It would have been “unseemly” for a young woman to go gallivanting around caves back in 1913.
She, too, believes the “A Beierle” of cave fame is Alfred, who once owned 600 acres of land that ran from FM 311 to FM 46.
Larry’s wife Kathleen said Beierle women tended to have babies later in life, which is how the teenagers who carved their names into the Party Cove cave back in 1913 have a nephew who is alive and kicking at the relatively young age of 71.
Living Legacy and Family Heritage
Kathleen Beierle said there are descendants of the Beierle family living around the Spring Branch area today.
In 1987, an interviewer with a radio station KGNB Reflections spoke to Larry’s father Faltin Beierle, who lived from 1910 to 1988. Faltin remembers his father telling him about seeing Native Americans headed across his property toward the Guadalupe River.
To listen to that KGNB Reflections interview and hear more about Faltin Beierle’s life growing up in the surrounding area, click the audio links below. Kathleen Beierle also recommends Spring Branch & Western Comal County by Brenda Anderson-Lindemann.
Faltin Beierle 1987 audio interview with KGNB
According to that book, the first Beierle, Sebastian, arrived in Texas in 1854.
But Larry has more than a few interesting stories of his own.
Weather Tracking and River Memories
He said Alfred Beierle of possible cave fame ran the first weather station in Spring Branch. Part of his responsibilities involved monitoring Guadalupe River levels.
After Alfred retired, Faltin Beierle assumed responsibility for monitoring river rates and the weather.
“I remember when I was real little, he’d take me over there with him on the big bridge over the Guadalupe River at FM 311, which later came to be known in school days as the ‘Old Tallahatchie,'” Larry Beierle said. “He put a bottle in a holder and lowered it into the water, gather water, and bring it back up. He had another bobber thing that gauged the height of the river. He would write the height of the river and the date and time on the bottle. Once he had a whole case of it the geological survey people came around and picked it up.”
As technology advanced, the river height was sent electronically.
Faltin Beierle also recorded rain totals over 30 years in Spring Branch.
Larry Beierle remembers sitting with his father on the Guadalupe riverbank, waiting for the waters to crest during floods.
Faltin Beierle would call Kerrville to get information on rainfall and river rates. It took 12 hours for storms there to make their mark on Guadalupe River levels in Spring Branch. Faltin’s responsibility was to alert the City of New Braunfels about any high water headed in that direction.
A Parting Note
Larry Beierle said sadly, someone has already defaced the cave wall by adding their name right next to A. Beierle and EDDIE. Cavers who explored the cave to map it said residents who live around the cave have promised to keep an eye on it.