40th Anniversary Footsteps of the Founder’s Walk

The American Volkssport Association (AVA) celebrated it’s 40th Anniversary in Fredericksburg today. Here is how it all began.

Fredericksburg, Texas, native Kenn Knopp, was visiting his distant relatives in Germany in 1976. He was taken on an afternoon stroll by his relatives to a cemetery where his relatives were buried. The stroll turned out to be a six-mile ordeal. At that time Knopp was very much overweight and upon returning to his relative’s home he was confined to the bed for an extra day.

“Now that you’ve started exercising” he was told, “why not join the International People’s Sports Walking Club that is very popular here in Europe.” Knopp thought it was a good idea since he was on the lookout for an activity Fredericksburg might sponsor as part of its German heritage. When he returned to Fredericksburg a walking club was formed and the international headquarters in Germany approved. Volkssportverein Friedrichsburg (People’s Sports Association Fredericksburg) then became “The First in Texas, the First in the U.S.A.”

The first internationally sanctioned walk in the USA was held in Fredericksburg in June of 1976 as part of the nation’s Bicentennial Celebration. More than 200 participants came from far and wide to have their Distance Book and Event Book stamped officially. Most of those taking part were from the military bases nearby and had been on the popular weekend walks all across Europe. Almost immediately, new Volkssport clubs organized in Texas and across the country.

Here are pictures from today’s anniversary event.

A water wheel from the early failed Mormon community of Zodiac is preserved in Fredericksburg's Pioneer Garden

A water wheel from the early failed Mormon community of Zodiac is preserved in Fredericksburg’s Pioneer Garden

Visiting with old friends before the walk.

Visiting with old friends before the walk.

Walk Registration

Walk Registration

Leaving the start we pass the WPA built courthouse.

Leaving the start we pass the WPA built Gillespie County Courthouse.

Oversized cowboy hat and boots.

Oversized cowboy hat and boots advertise outside a store.

Bronze eagle for sale in one of the shops we passed.

Bronze eagle for sale in one of the shops we passed.

Posing with an M&M outside a candy store.

Posing with an M&M outside a candy store.

Statue of Admiral Nimitz.

Statue of Admiral Nimitz.

Pergola

Pergola

Pump house for a water tower converted into an apartment.

Pump house for a water tower converted into an apartment.

Adolph Gold house built in 1901.

Adolph Gold house built in 1901.

Former home of Kenn Knopp, the man who brought Volksmarching to America.

Former home of Kenn Knopp, the man who brought Volksmarching to America.

Pump house with water tank still on top.

Pump house with water tank still on top.

Indian Blankets

Indian Blankets lined a section of the road.

A new church that walkers in 1996 wouldn't have seen.

A new church that walkers in 1996 wouldn’t have seen.

Checkpoint #1 volunteer.

Checkpoint #1 volunteer.

Blooming century plant.

Blooming century plant.

House on the hills that wouldn't have been there in 1996.

House on the hills that wouldn’t have been there in 1996.

Checkpoint #2 Volunteer

Checkpoint #2 Volunteer

Interesting yard art.

Interesting yard art.

Garden full of cone flowers.

Garden full of cone flowers.

One of several honey bees buzzing around the flowers.

One of several honey bees buzzing around the flowers.

Gingerbread dog house.

Gingerbread dog house.

WPA wall built in 1938 at the school.

WPA wall built in 1938 at the school.

Getting our record books stamped at the finish table.

Getting our record books stamped at the finish table.

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About walktx

I am an avid Volksmarcher. I belong to Texas County Walkers in Mesquite.
This entry was posted in day trip, family fun, Photo Journal, Texas, Urban Hike, volksmarching, walking and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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