The Ebensberger Mortuary Exhibit

Did you know that the Ebensberger (now Ebensberger-Fisher) Funeral Home is the oldest, continuous business in Boerne? Our display (graciously donated by the Ebensberger family) is currently being revamped. In the meantime here’s some interesting facts on the history of funeral homes and the role of the mortician.

  • Until the mid-1800s, families took care of their own deceased and held private funerals within the family home, typically in the parlor.
  • The creation of the embalming process was a direct result of the tremendous loss of lives during the Civil War and the need to return the fallen to their families, often hundreds of miles away.
  • In the early days the mortician’s equipment had to be easily transportable, since often the embalming process and other preparation processes were performed in the home of the deceased. (See Ebensberger’s bag)
  • Many of the tools used by a Mortician are medical tools (scalpels, syringes, and trocars) but also have specially designed tools for the trade (needle injectors or “mouth closers” and screw in “buttons” to plug small holes or punctures in the body).
  • Nowadays the funeral home business has expanded to involve the services of the medical, floral, cosmetic, manufacturing, and even automotive industries, to mention a few.

We still have a few spots open for our ghost storytelling event occurring Oct. 10, Oct. 24, and Nov. 14. Call/text 210-275-8301 or message us here to reserve your spot! The kitchen and Graham building will be open for tours 12 to 3 pm on these days as well.

Ghost Stories

Why did the curtain flutter? Is there someone there? Come, come to me. I have stories to tell of the spirits who haunt the buildings and places in Boerne. Limited space due to covid protocol. Call, text, or message us for reservations.

Curious about ghost tales in Boerne? We have the perfect spooky house to share them with you! Our seats have filled up quickly so contact us soon for a reserved seat! You can call or text, 210-275-8301, or message us. The Kuhlmann-King Historic Complex will now be open the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month starting in October from noon to 3 PM. We have preserved and told Boerne and Kendall County history for over 50 years.

Early Technology Up Close

X-ray technology may seem futuristic but its origins date back to 1895. German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen discovered it by passing high voltage electricity through vacuum tubes which produced small amounts of X-Rays. The Gundelach style tube (pictured below) manufactured in the 1910’s made numerous improvements to the tubes, mainly in the durability and efficiency of the unit.

Unfortunately, at the time the health risks of prolonged exposure X-Rays were unknown. These early devices required up to 20-30 minutes of exposure (compared to a fraction of a second needed today) leading to deadly radiation sickness. But before the technology could be properly understood and restricted, the public had its fun using fluoroscopes to see bones in their feet while trying on shoes or through their hand while sitting at a table.

By the mid-20th century, the radiation effects became better understood. The trivial uses of the technology were removed, and medical facilities increased the safety of their equipment and techniques.

But this tube is perfectly safe to come and see, along with many other early technological advances and Boerne-related artifacts at the Kuhlmann-King historical complex every second Saturday from 12-3 or message us to set up a private tour.

Autograph Books

Autograph books were a popular keepsake amongst young adults beginning in the 15th century and started a trend which would last over 500 years. A typical entry might be a sentimental poem, drawing, or personal message.

Pictured below is one example of what you could find so eloquently inscribed in the pages of an autograph book. We have several of these books, owned by early residents of Boerne, on display in the Graham building.

Come see these and other Boerne-related artifacts at the Kuhlman-King historical complex every second Saturday from 12-3 or message us to set up a private tour.

Butter Churn Time

Thinking about churning your own butter at home? We know you are! Here’s a look into how they made their butter in the 19th and early 20th centuries

Supplies: (1) cow for milking, (1) pail, (1) setting dish, (1) cream skimmer, (1) butter churn (any style)

Step 1

Get Your Milk

Milk your cow into a pail, then transfer into a shallow setting dish. Let sit to allow the cream to separate and rise to the top. This may take about a half a day.

Step 2

Skim the Cream

Skim the cream from the surface of the milk using a cream skimmer. You’ll want to keep the cream in a cool place, such as a nice 19th century icebox (as pictured below) or an underground cellar, for it may take several days of repeating step 1 to render enough cream to make the next few steps worth the work.

Step 3

Pick Your Churn

Once you have a good amount of cream, pour it into your desired style of butter churn (pictured below is a ‘barrel’ style)

Step 4

The Hard Part

Churn and churn until your arms burn! About half an hour.

Then your butter is ready! Enjoy! Everything is better with a little bit of butter. You could store some in an ice box (pictured above) if you happened to have one.

**This is a general description of the process of 19th cent. style butter-making for entertainment purposes only. We encourage further research if attempting to make butter yourself.**

Come see this and many other artifacts from Boerne’s past here at the Kuhlman-King historical complex. We are open every second Saturday or contact us to set up a private tour.

Stereoscope Entertainment

A stereoscope is a device for viewing a pair of separate images, depicting left-eye and right-eye views with the same scene, as a single three-dimensional image. Most of us have fond memories of experiencing a stereoscope as a ViewMaster. This particular stereoscope is classified as a “Holmes” model, which was the most common model starting from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries.

A look through one of the lenses

Eventually the View-Master took over as the must-have of stereoscopes, which had rotating cardboard discs holding the image pairs, popular for “virtual tourism” and eventually as a child’s toy.

Come see this and many other fascinating artifacts from Boerne’s past here at the Kuhlman-King historical complex! We are open every second Saturday from 12-3 pm or contact us to set up a private tour.