How Bee Cave Came to Be

In: Outdoors

23 Nov 2013

(map) In the early 1850s, Dietrich Bohls grew tired of the bright lights, big-city feel of Austin. After all, the town was bustling with 900 people, and Mr. Bohls wanted to raise his kids in a quieter, healthier environment. He found a scenic spot a full day’s ride away from Austin, and claimed 40 acres on upper Barton Creek. The family farmed and raised goats andthe original cabins they built and lived in still exist today.

Kitchens were usually built separately from living quarters, because they had an alarming tendency to catch fire.

Along the banks of Barton Creek, colonies of Mexican honeybees created huge hives that folks referred to as “caves.” At first, the Bohls were the only settlers, but as more families heard about the place and moved in, it was referred as “the Bee Caves area.”  When a post office was built in 1870, the town was officially named Bee Cave.

The barn where the family parked their horses at night.

You can visit today and imagine life back in the 1850s. No electricity, no TV, no blogs about west Austin!

Rustic interiors were probably the reason settlers spent most of their time outdoors.

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5 Responses to How Bee Cave Came to Be

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betty

November 23rd, 2013 at 12:11 pm

A fascinating bit of history. Makes me appreciate what our ancestors had to contend with just to survive.

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Donna

November 27th, 2013 at 9:28 am

Was wondering if anyone knew where Bruton Springs School sat on Bee Caves Road…..approximate location around Patterson Rd area ?

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jim

June 19th, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Did a stagecoach line run through Bee Cave? If so, where did it stop and did it deliver the mail to the Bee Cave Post Office?

Ed. Reply: Great question! We will find out when City Hall opens and let you know!

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Mike

April 20th, 2016 at 12:46 am

My family settled in Cedar Valley (near to Bee Cave) in 1871. My family and Bohls’ appear in an out-of-print book called Oak Hill–Cedar Valley Pioneers, published 1956 by the Oak Hill–Cedar Valley Pioneer Assn.

In the (not always reliable) book, Diedrich[sich] Bohls was born in Oldenburg, Germany in 1793. He came to America with a (probably grown) son named Willam in 1842. They settled in Austin “where Rosewood Park is now located.” He married Annie Kramer (b. 1817) and had seven children: Lena, Gus, Henry, Charley, Emiline, Theodore and Jack. No specific date was given for when they moved to Bee Cave. Dietrich died in 1863. Annie remarried and died in 1893.

I have an old pictured identified on the back as “Bee Cave Picnic, 1918.” All the names are listed on the back, including several Bohls. They are all German except for my Welsh great-great-great-aunt and a couple of Newmans who could go either way.

One other thing. There is no such thing as a Mexican Honey Bee. They are actually honey wasps, the only other insect that produces honey on the same scale as bees. They build huge, scary-looking paper nests that can kind of look like caves. They live in south Texas as far north as Travis County. (Really, Google it.) Don’t know if that’s where “Bee Cave” comes from, but it’s possible.

Ed. Reply: Wow, that’s a lot of good info! Thanks, Mike!

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richard

September 23rd, 2016 at 8:06 am

I believe that the name “Bee Cave” was given to the area , at least partly, because:
In the mid to late 1800′s a fire broke out in one of them and burned for about ten years. Well more than one year any way.
Plumes of smoke came out of openings all over the area.

I really do not recall where I got this but it sticks in my mind from a conversation with a family member years ago.

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