When The Hill Country Was Armadillo Capital Of The World

The Texas Hill Country is widely known for its breathtaking scenery, world-class wineries, and embracing and celebrating its multi-cultural heritage.

It’s not generally known as the armadillo capital of the world.

But it sure used to be.

The story of how Central Texas became the shinning beacon of all things nine-banded began in 1887 when 15-yearold Charles Apelt emigrated from Germany to Comfort, Texas. He wasn’t long in the Lone Star State before he encountered an armadillo, killed it with a rock, and, after eating it, noticed how the animal’s shell was shaped like a basket. Apelt, who had a background in basket making back in Germany, was soon fashioning the strange armored mammals’ remains into novelty baskets. He opened an armadillo basket factory in 1898 and within six years time had sold an astounding 40,000 of them at between $2.50 and $4.00 a piece. Apelt did even more business after showing his unique baskets at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904.


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