The City of Boerne unveiled a new interpretive sign July 15 along the Cibolo Creek Trail to tell the story of the Boerne Crusaders Club, in operation from 1969 to 2019. The new sign overlooks an area of town known as “the Flats,” which was once home to a beloved community hall and a center of friendship and goodwill in the heart of downtown.
The Crusaders Club was formed in 1969 at a small grocery store operated by Johnny Sotello on O’Grady Street. Living by its motto, “Because We Care,” the club promoted understanding for the betterment of the community; awarded scholarships; built sidewalks and gazebos at Main Plaza and City Park; and, in later years, sponsored Project Adelante to mentor Boerne students through examples of successful civic and business life.
In 1977, the club opened its community center at the corner of O’Grady and Lott streets. The original building, which no longer stands, hosted dances, weddings and Boerne social events for many years to come. The organization dissolved in 2019, gifting an endowment fund to Sam’s Kids Student Foundation for scholarships to graduating seniors who demonstrate academic excellence, the ability to overcome financial hardship, involvement in extracurricular activities, and high potential for success in higher learning and life.
Local attorney Josué Martinez approached the city in 2020 regarding the development of the interpretive sign and worked closely with the Boerne Parks and Recreation Department throughout the process.
“For 30 years, this club was an integral part of life in the Flats and a center of community for everyone in Boerne,” Martinez said. “Through the Crusaders Club, children were provided scholarships for higher learning, quality of life projects were made possible in the city, and the club provided a venue for many life celebrations. In its three decades of operation, the Crusaders Club made a profound difference in Boerne, and we were thrilled to work with the City of Boerne to help ensure its legacy could be spotlighted for future generations.”
The Flats was originally established in 1887 as the Iron-Graham’s addition. Bordered by Cibolo Creek to the north and School, Hosack and Thiessen streets to the west, south and east, the Flats was soon populated by Mexican American families and, later, African American families from the Freedom Colonies.
The new interpretive sign is located along the Cibolo Creek Trail behind Tusculum Brewing Company and is situated to provide an outlook over the Flats and the main center of Crusader activity.