The historic German Casino building on Farm Street in Bastrop collapsed Nov. 12. Bastrop Building Official James Cowey along with public works and police department officials secured the area using tape and barricades to prevent public entry.

Constructed in the 1860s, the building’s full demolition requires oversight of the Historic Landmark Commission.

“We're going to work with the owner through the Historic Landmark Commission because it is a historic property, and it does have to have some ruling by the HLC to get it fully demolished and off of the site,” City Manager Sylvia Carrillo said.

The future of the site is uncertain. Privately owned, the property owner may decide to redevelop, Carrillo said.

The context

The German-American Social Club completed construction of the German Casino building by April 1, 1868. The building was the venue for many public and private events, such as balls, theatrical performances and concerts. The building was also used as a school for German children, local historian Ken Kesselus said.

“It is interesting that after the public school system built schools for white and Black students in the early 1890s they sold the building, and until [Nov. 12] it was used for a number of differing purposes—mostly storage,” Kesselus said via text message. “It's amazing that it stood without much repair as long as it did.”

Kesselus covers some of the building’s history in his book “Bastrop County During Reconstruction.”

“The fact that the German community did not try to save it is illustrative of the fact that from 1893 until [World War I] the Germans in Bastrop [were] increasingly melding with the non-German whites until their old-world cultural identification finally died out,” Kesselus said.