WELCOME, in northwest Austin County, sits on Highway 109 on land granted to Stephen F. Austin by the Mexican government. The Shelburne family from Alabama bought the land from Austin’s heirs and began plantation life here in 1838.
Germans moved into the area in 1852 when four schoolmasters came and formed a community. The name “Welcome” is credited to schoolmaster John F. Schmidt who opened a store in 1853. He “welcomed” area travelers to rest on his property, and the community name is said to have evolved from this gesture. Welcome had a post office by 1870 and experienced a prosperous period from 1900 to 1920 with a school, church, car dealership, bank, racetrack, hospital, store and dance hall. Only the church and store remain today.
Welcome Salem Lutheran Church was organized in 1869 when the members built a sanctuary for worship. The 1900 storm destroyed the building, but it was soon rebuilt. In 1970, the church received a Texas State Historical Marker.
Welcome Mannerchor, a German Singing Society and social organization “Gesang-Verein,” was organized by town founder J.F. Schmidt’s oldest son. He was director, and his youngest son, Christopher, served as the organization’s president.
In 1877, the Singing Society formed the “Welcome Mannerchor” (men’s choir). The group obtained a state charter in 1892. Club members under the direction of song leader/architect A.A. Baring designed and built a hall for club activities that began functions in 1899. The Welcome Hall still exists and was moved to Industry.