The Glorious Texas Hill Country The Historic Don Strange Ranch

In 1844, Bavarian-born civil engineer Nicolas Zink (1812- 1887) was selected to lead a group of German immigrants overseas to establish settlements on a Texas land grant. This colonization effort was headed by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels and financed by a German corporation known as the Mainzer Adelsverein.

Upon arrival in Texas in late 1844 Zink realized that the grant to be settled by the colonists was in the heart of Comanche Indian territory. He persuaded Prince Solms to settle at an alternate site, which became the town of New Braunfels. He eventually was responsible for the supervision of about one-half of the German immigrants bound for New Braunfels.

After 1847, Zink built homes in a variety of places, including Sisterdale, Comfort, and an area south of Fredericksburg. In 1868 he acquired this property and built the central portion of the limestone house southeast of this site.

He later gave land for and helped engineer the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad bed to Kerrville. Despite three marriages, Zink left no children and few people are aware of his contribution to Texas history. The state’s German American communities are his legacy, testimony to his tireless efforts to lead the immigrants to the better lives of their dreams. Zink lived here until his death and is buried in an unmarked grave near this site.

The ranch and buildings are now used by Don Strange Catering Service known as the Don Strange Ranch. Many promotional and social events are held here annually.

cookbookDon Strange of Texas, Inc. 58 years in the making.

Don Strange built his catering business around the wealth of foods available in Texas and served his fare in a down-home style that was well-received at both black-tie events and cookouts held anywhere from the White House lawn to his Hill Country ranch.

He was also known for his generous nature, which endeared him to many. He founded the groups, Helping Hands and Breakfast of Champions, and was active in Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives, all of which have helped children help themselves with a better understanding of cooking and nutrition.