There’s a sign on the tree coming into town that says “Population – 4.” The population actually peaked at 50 around 1925, but that sign actually needs some updating now- the permanent population now stands at “0″ and the whole town of Albert, Texas is up for sale. Wikipedia describes it as a “ghost town” and it all but is, except on the weekends. This Hill Country town about 16 miles Southeast of Fredericksburg hosts gatherings of about a hundred musicians and fans on the weekends who get together to relax, drink beer, listen to music, and have a good time. The current owner, Bobby Cave, hopes that a new owner can build on this tradition and transform Albert into a real travel & tourism destination.
The town was sparsely settled as Martinsburg in 1877 and changed its name to Albert in 1892 when Albert Luckenbach (after whom the more famous, but not-for-sale, town of Luckenbach is named) registered a new post office in town. A general store was built in 1897, and a limestone schoolhouse was constructed in 1900. In 1920, the young Lyndon Baines Johnson attended school there briefly. In 1922, a dance hall was put up, giving Albert its lasting identity as a place of entertainment.
Most everyone had left town, the general store had gone to ruin, and the dance hall was being used as a storage locker when Bobby Cave bought the whole town for $216,000 in 2004. With big plans for a major tourist destination, Cave poured in nearly a half million dollars, built a modern 3 bedroom residence, restored the dance hall, spruced up the landscaping, and built a tavern using many parts from the old general store. He got the weekend music gatherings going, but with his complete vision still some ways in the future, Cave decided to sell in 2007. He listed the town on Ebay with a reserve of $2.5 Million, but only got bidding up to $500,000. Now, with the market not quite what it once was, Cave is listing the town at the bargain price of $883,000 !
What does $883,000 get you ? No post office, but you do get the whole 13-acre town, the modern house, the 1922 dance hall, the tavern (now called the Ice House) built with historic parts, a pavilion and stage, a goat pen converted into a motorcycle roundup area, and water frontage on Williams Creek. The LBJ schoolhouse is on town property, but the building is owned by Gillespie County. (If you buy the town, I’d consider a reval and adjusting their property tax!) The 13 acres is spread out on quality grassland with pecan and peach trees, and two huge 500 year-old Live Oaks (one pictured to the right).
Check out the Albert Texas website for complete information, maps, photo galleries, and Bobby Cave’s vision of Albert’s future. For Albert captured on video and Cave’s Realtor’s take on marketing the town, watch the news story from local KVUE news from when the property was listed on Ebay in 2007.