Shiner (population 2,070) developed along the San Antonio Arkansas Pass Railroad on land donated by the city’s namesake, rancher Henry B. Shiner. Development around the new depot soon eclipsed that of a small nearby community known as Half Moon, many of whose residents relocated. Half Moon’s role in Shiner’s early history is recalled each year in the annual Half Moon Holidays festival.
German, Czech, and Austrian immigrants helped to populate the community and develop its industries, including a brewery and cigar factory. The Spoetzel Brewery, founded in 1909, is still in production and is Texas’ oldest independent brewery. The historic cigar factory building today is a museum and home to the non-profit Historic Old Town Shiner and the Shiner Chamber of Commerce.
A number of Shiner’s historic properties are showcased on the annual Home for the Holidays Homes Tour, a recent event that is helping to raise awareness regarding the community’s historic resources. The Peachtree Emporium (1893), originally a dry goods store, is now a museum and tea room. The First Methodist Church (1913), now a private residence, is a unique example of adaptive re-use. The Arts and Crafts-style Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum (1915) offers extensive exhibits on Shiner’s history.
The newly designated El Camino Real de Los Tejas National Historic Trail will run through Shiner and should offer a new opportunity to promote heritage tourism. The community is working with the Lavaca County Historical Commission in helping the National Park Service to plan the trail’s development in the area.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2007.