COST, TEXAS. Cost is on State Highway 97 six miles west of Gonzales in central Gonzales County. It formed as a community when German settlers began arriving in the area during the 1890s. The community was first known as Oso, but its name was changed to Cost when its post office was established in 1897 in Samuel C. Hindman's store. The first shot in the war for Texas independence (see TEXAS REVOLUTION) was fired a mile east of the site of Cost on October 2, 1835. In downtown Cost, on March 14, 1937, Governor James Allred dedicated a monument commemorating this event. The first business in the original settlement was a general store opened by pioneer rancher J. B. Wells for employees on his 10,000-acre ranch to the west. A saloon followed, but both it and the store were closed by 1890. An influx of German cotton farmers led to the need for a cotton gin, and in 1892 William Muenzler moved his gin from Cummins Creek in Fayette County to Oso. This gin continued as a Muenzler family operation until 1923, when it was purchased by W. F. Gandre. The Gandre family closed it in 1950, when cotton was no longer significant to the area as a cash crop.
From 1895 until the 1920s the community always had a physician living there. In 1896 Adolph Tolle opened a blacksmith shop, which was sold to R. C. Schauer in 1902; it was eventually converted into a garage that operated until the 1960s. Another garage was operated at the community by Paul Muenzler from 1928 until the onset of World War II. After the war he operated on that site the Cost Lumber Company until it closed in the late 1950s. A public school served the community from 1897 until 1959, when the local population declined, and Cost students were transferred to the Gonzales schools. The Lindemann family opened a store in 1905, which M. D. Lindemann sold to James McNabb in 1986. A telephone line connected Gonzales and Cost in 1909. Methodist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Assembly of God church members attended services in nearby Monthalia. A Baptist church met in Cost from 1916 until 1952. An important part of the community's social life centered on the Cost Hot Well, a strong-flowing, artesian sulfur spring that was developed into a spa in 1925. It was popular until sometime after World War II. The most significant event in the community's history was the organization of the highly successful Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative by 100 charter members on December 2, 1938. Lindemann encouraged rural electrification efforts and acted as the first president of the cooperative. The cooperative's headquarters was later moved from Cost to Gonzales. Lindemann owned a tin shop in the 1930s that built cisterns for local farms, and the Lindemann Fertilizer Company opened in 1966 and continued to operate in 2017. By the 1990s cotton farming in the area had been superseded by poultry and livestock farming and by the production of feed grains. The 1990 population of Cost was reported as sixty-two, and its businesses included a grocery store, a feed and fertilizer store, a welding shop, an oilfield chemical supply house, and a field office of the Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative. The population increased to eighty-four in 2014.
Allen H. Chessher, Let There Be Light: A History of the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (San Antonio: Naylor Company, 1964). Gonzales County Historical Commission, History of Gonzales County (Dallas: Curtis, 1986). The Eagle (Bryan), June 17, 1949. Seguine Gazette-Enterprise, February 22, 1979. Shiner Gazette, January 19, 1950., June 25, 1959.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Esther and Raymond Juengermann, "COST, TX," accessed May 30, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hnc98.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on November 28, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.